Eylül 24, 2022
şuradan Gayrneşriyatı
2,312 görüntüleme

The 19th century was an age of great social upheaval. Massive waves of migration, the rise of factory production, and the extension of voting rights to broad segments of the male population all combined to precipitate a collapse in traditional social hierarchies and norms. New ideologies sprang up in response to these changes, challenging established ideas about government, religion, gender roles, education, marriage, and property rights. Among these new ideological strains was individualist anarchism—a school of thought that stresses the importance of personal liberty above all other social considerations. Though often overlooked or misrepresented as a nihilistic creed by critics on both Left and Right, individualist anarchism was one of the most widely discussed and read schools of anarchist thought during the latter half of the 19th century. This article will explore the various thinkers who helped establish individualist anarchism as a prominent part of the intellectual discussion about how best to organize society for maximum human flourishing. Individualist anarchism was an early form of anarchism which emerged in the United States around the start of the 20th century. It emphasized anti-authoritarianism, self-ownership and free market economics. The core principle of individualist anarchism is that each person’s life should be free from government intrusion, even if this means living without any government-provided security or property rights. Individualist anarchists oppose all forms of aggression, including war, theft and fraud. They also favor a minimal state with few or no laws. Most individualist anarchists believe that people who commit crimes should be punished by the community as a whole, rather than by an authoritarian government acting as judge, jury and jailer. Individualist anarchism emerged in response to what many saw as the problems caused by industrialization and the rise of capitalism. It rejected the idea that workplaces should be run in any authoritarian way and stressed the importance of self-employment and small businesses for maximizing individual liberty. Most individualist anarchists were against both capitalism and socialism, although some did support a system similar to socialism called mutualism. Individualist anarchists tended to be anti-religious, but they were usually not very dogmatic about their beliefs and were open to other interpretations of how best to live their lives. This ideological school of thought, which is also known as Individualist Anarchism or simply Anarchism without adjectives, holds that individuals have an inherent right to liberty and self-ownership above all else. Individualist anarchism has its roots in the writings of William Godwin. While Godwin is best known as the author of the novel “Things as They Are”, it was his work “An Inquiry into the Origin of Human Knowledge” that laid the philosophical foundation for all subsequent schools of individualist anarchism. Godwin was the first person to use the term “philosophical anarchism,” which he did in 1793, in his “Enquiry”. Godwin believed that central to his philosophy was the core principle that individuals have the right to ignore the State. “In the present state of civilization,” Godwin wrote, “the condition of the majority of mankind is one of almost complete dependence on others.” Godwin’s critique of the dynamics of power and his insistence on the necessity of vigilance against all forms of tyranny were embraced by later generations of individualists, who expanded upon his arguments in new and creative ways. The most important 19th-century individualist anarchist is undoubtedly Josiah Warren, who is sometimes called “the first American anarchist.” Warren published the first journal in the United States with an anarchist slant called “The Peaceful Revolutionist” from 1833–1840. He collaborated with fellow anarchists Lysander Spooner and William B. Greene, and he also contributed to Benjamin R. Tucker’s individualist journal “Liberty”. H. L. Mencken called the individualist anarchism of the 19th century “one of the most fascinating movements in the history of American philosophy.” Indeed, the writings and ideas of 19th-century individualists are remarkably relevant to the concerns of our own time. William Godwin is an important ancestor of individualist anarchism, as well as of communist and socialist anarchism. Godwin’s major work of political philosophy, “An Enquiry Concerning Political Justice” (1793), was the first purely anarchist work, and probably the first work of political philosophy to coin the term “anarchism”. Godwin’s anarchism is a form of philosophical anarchism, which is a rejection of all forms of the state. Some 19th-century American individualists like Benjamin R. Tucker followed Godwin’s example and preferred to call themselves philosophical anarchists rather than individualists. Thomas Jefferson was a strong believer in the principles of individualism, but he was also a firm believer in the need for individuals to have limits placed on their behavior. He believed that humans are naturally self-interested and that this sense of self-interest should be harnessed to serve the public good. In an 1813 letter he wrote: “If once [the majority] get a taste of the [government] honey, they will never refuse the reproach of being the hive.” Jefferson believed that a majority of people would naturally try to use the government to serve themselves if they were allowed, and he believed that the only way to keep the government under the control of the people was to have strict laws and limits on power, so that if the majority tried to use the government for their own ends, they would be stopped. Jefferson believed that these limits on power were essential to protect the interests of the minority. Josiah Warren was a forerunner in the development of American individualist anarchism. In 1833 he founded the first anarchist periodical, “The Peaceful Revolutionist”, which had a significant impact on the development of American anarchism. Like Godwin he saw the necessity of individual self-reliance: “All signs indicate a growing indifference to moral principle and the increasing dependence on wealth. The rich are growing richer and the poor poorer. This is neither natural nor inevitable but the result of a condition of things that can be changed. We have only to re-examine our notions about property and labor, about exchange and commerce and about our rights and duties to each other to find a remedy for the present evils and a security against greater ones.” Warren believed that government was an unnecessary evil, but that social and economic cooperation were essential to human well-being. He also wrote extensively on the importance of cooperation in the workplace, and he believed that workers should own and control their places of employment. Tucker’s journal “Liberty” aggressively publicized the work of American individualists, particularly the writings of Benjamin R. Tucker. In the pages of “Liberty” Tucker attempted to correct the popular misconceptions about anarchism while also attempting to expand the audience for anarchist thought. Tucker also attempted to find common ground between individualist anarchism and other branches of anarchism, including socialist anarchism and libertarian communism. However, as the popularity of Tucker’s “Liberty” grew, there was a rift between Tucker and some of the other American individualists. The conflict came to a head in an exchange of letters between Tucker and the American individualist Lysander Spooner. Tucker’s vision of anarchism was based on the idea that individuals would band together in associations to protect their common interests, just as they would form corporations or partnership firms. Spooner, on the other hand, had a more extreme vision of individual sovereignty, and he argued that only one man at a time could own a piece of property. The English philosopher Jeremy Bentham was an important forerunner in the development of both communist and individualist anarchism. He envisioned a society in which communism would be applied in the so-called “lower” or “animal” realm to provide for basic needs, and individualism would be applied in the “higher” or “human” realm to ensure the maximum amount of freedom for each person. Bentham’s essay “Anarchical Fallacies”, published in 1816, was a major influence on the development of both communist and individualist anarchism. In this essay, he criticised the ideas of state-socialists and the idea of government, saying that the “natural state of human beings is one of ‘anarchy'”, and that “governments are ‘made’ … not ‘grown'”. Mutualism, the idea that goods and services should be distributed according to the principle of “from each according to his ability, to each according to his needs”, has had a powerful influence on both the individualist and communist traditions within the anarchist movement. The French Anarchist philosopher Proudhon was the first to use the term “mutualism” in his “What is Property?” (1840), and he was one of the first to explore the idea of a labour-based form of capitalism. Proudhon’s vision of a mutualist society was one where people would exchange goods and services without being paid money, or what he called “the reciprocal exchange of services”. In this society, people would work for themselves or for their associations, producing goods for their own needs and for the needs of others. This type of economic system was explored in more depth by American individualist Benjamin R. Tucker, who combined it with free market capitalist ideals.

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