The Ideas of Keith Preston

I have just discovered a very interesting anarchist who has similar views to my own. His website is called “Attack the System” with two subtitles, with which I agree: (1) Pan-Anarchism Against the State, and (2) Pan-Secessionism Against the Empire.

I listened to two of his videos which are listed below, and plan to do more listening and studying of his ideas.

A description of current “leftist” views and their relation to the State.

European colonialism fathered American quasi-religious imperialism

On Reinventing the Wheel

I am troubled by the fact that many  speakers and writers do not acknowledge or are ignorant of previous relevant writings on a topic, and really repeat saying what others have written; thus, “reinventing the wheel.”

What can explain this phenomenon? Well, it is obvious that people want to have personal success and income from their speaking and writing, and so, they try to get attention.  They want people to view their videos, read their books, and be invited to various interviews, debates, and lectures.

They succeed, in part, because they appeal to a wide ignorant audience, which is attracted by the speaker’s or writer’s entertainment qualities, rather then by his or her scholarship.

For example, what do I want from a writer on a topic such as ethics? I want him to begin with something similar to what C. D. Broad did in his Five Types of Ethical Theories (1930). This is what he wrote: “Sidgwick’s Methods of Ethics seems to be on the whole the best treatise on moral theory that has ever been written, and to be one of the English philosophical classics.” p. 143.  And the bulk of Broad’s book — 113 pages our of a total 285 — is devoted to a critical examination of Sidgwick’s ethics.

Instead of jumping right into a topic, I would like an author to start by identifying what he considers to be the best work to date on a topic and write a critique of this work.

I had tried to do something like this in my dissertation in the fields of epistemology and metaphysics . I did not outright say that Wilfrid Sellars is the best contemporary thinker on these topics, but I did so implicitly by choosing to critically examine his views and claiming that he had verisimilitude. Here is what I wrote: “The examined philosopher provides an occasion for developing one’s own philosophy, and this is especially rewarding if the examined philosophy has verisimilitude, as does that of Wilfrid Sellars. The conclusions I reach are very close to Sellars’ own — so close, in fact, that I am not certain whether what I am offering as correction are of things I am only misinterpreting.” Andrew Chrucky, “Critique of Wilfrid Sellars’ Materialism,” 1990.

I myself have not done any systematic work in ethics, but it seems that being able to pursue a critical examination of morals assumes a cultural and political  context of such things as having had an education which gives one the critical acumen to pursue such studies, as well as the leisure to do so; rather than working at some unrelated area for a wage; and the means to pursue such a study — as access to a suitable library or the means to purchase necessary books. And, most important, there is the necessity of cultural tolerance and the political right of free speech.

Although I have a concern with ethics, there are also the more basic problems of how to cope with people who do not have a concern with morals and how to cope with institutions which allow such people to flourish. It is a question how to wage war against such people and such institutions.

Reaction to Cameron Watt

Everyone should watch the videos of Cameron Watt. Why? Because he is very clear in explaining and documenting the history of the United States’ terrorist activities and the US support of various brutal regimes. And he is also very clear is explaining the nature of capitalism and of libertarian socialism (=anarchism).

However, there are three areas in which I have disagreements. The first is his opposition to Brexit. The only reason which I would have against Brexit is if this gives more power to the ruling classes of Great Britain — which it may do. Otherwise, I am for giving autonomy to smaller communities. For example, I am for the independence of Catalonia and the Basque region. I am for Kurdish and Palestinian independence. I am for ethnic groups seceding and forming their own communities. I am for a federated Europe, but not as it is now.

The second area in which I find disagreement is over his stance on free migration. The fact of the matter is that people are not only very social — craving to be in the company of other human beings, but they are tribal. Like other animals, they have a herding instinct: as it is said, birds of a feather flock together. That is why there are national states with distinct languages.

This tendency of people to group together is evident everywhere. I live in Chicago, and it is apparent that there is segregation of the city into various neighborhoods: Blacks, Mexicans, Chinese, Indians, Italians, Polish, Ukrainians, rich, poor.

Striving for legal desegregation is for economic reasons. Living in a capitalistic economy, no one wants to be disadvantaged from a job, education, public transportation, a restaurant, a house, or a rental because of some bias.

From a capitalist perspective, what is wanted is an atomized potential work force. The less people have in common, the less they are likely to form work unions. In addition, from a capitalist perspective, you want an ever increasing population by birth and by immigration. The flooding of Europe by migrations benefits capitalists, and that is why it is allowed; not for any humanitarian reason. The humanitarian thing to do would have been to prevent the conditions which caused the migrations in the first place.

The third area where I find — not disagreement — but a shortcoming with Cameron — is with the idea of worker-owned factories. This must be supplemented with a universal right to free subsistence land, and by a bottom-up government by councils — rather than by individuals.