“Physical Removal” has become a meme in Hoppean circles. The principle that collectivists should be absent in an anarchist society is accepted; however, there must be more precision in discussing collectivists. Collectivists are not a monolith, nor should they be treated as such. There are two types of collectivist threats. These can be broadly characterized as malignant threats and benign threats.
First, what is a malignant collectivist threat? This type of threat is one that can uproot a free society’s foundation and then replace it with an oppressive, collectivist system. Malignant threats are of particular importance to a free society. They must be physically removed from free societies as they attack the integrity of the system or systems that make it up.
Second, what is a benign collectivist threat? A benign threat is one that cannot uproot and replace a free society’s foundations. These threats may be explosive bursts of anger from collectivists that result in superficial damage to free societies. These threats may also be collectivist rhetoric that attacks free societies. Benign threats are often more visible as they can manifest in the forms of property damage, loud speeches, and physical violence.
Benign threats may bother some readers. They are annoying. However, it is important to understand that these nuisances should not be physically removed. Why? The exponents of benign threats can be, and tend to be, creative types that are valuable to societal development. Let’s face it, collectivists tend to be Leftists and Leftists are more creative than the Right.
A medical analogy. Malignant threats are melanoma, benign threats are basal cell carcinoma. Melanoma must be exterminated through chemotherapy. Basal cell carcinoma is tamed through the use of creams and non-invasive procedures. If you treat melanoma as basal cell carcinoma, you risk death. If you treat basal cell carcinoma as melanoma, you risk bodily damage and a hole in your pocket. Treatments must match cancers for the sake of the patient.
The question remains: How does one distinguish between these two types of threats to free societies? The question may be challenging for fans of Hoppe, who tend to be Right-wing. Collectivism tends to come from the Left and many on the Right perceive the Left as a monolithic Leviathan. This prejudice limits the Right’s ability to distinguish collectivist threats.
Reading Lenin is the antidote to this failure in differentiating malignant and benign threats. Lenin was famously on the Left. He understood the Left. His understanding played an instrumental role in the development of militant collectivism. Lenin should be studied closely by any who seek to create and maintain a free society.
Lenin was successful in taking down both a monarchy and a bourgeois democratic republic. While some may argue these regimes were not free societies, they were certainly freer than the regime Lenin ushered in. Lenin was the prototypical malignant threat.
So, we wonder: How did Lenin accomplish his feats? Luckily, he left extensive writings detailing his process. Lenin was a calculating and deliberate politician. In his writings, he indirectly identified those previously mentioned malignant and benign threats.
In the Russian revolutions, Lenin basically identifies three groups in opposition to the Tsar. These are Social Democrats, Anarchists, and Bolsheviks. Fear not, for these groups can be easily translated to the modern context. Social Democrats can be equated to democrats, genuine believers in Hoppe’s “Soft Communism”. Anarchists can be equated to Leftist anarchists in the style of Antifa. Finally, Bolsheviks are serious Leftists whose focus is strategizing on finding and attaining power to impose Leftism, progressives are the most analogous to this group.
Lenin despised both Social Democrats and Anarchists. The former, due to his view that Social Democrats had bourgeois pursuits which they sought through political gradualism and incrementalism. To Lenin, this strategy was a non-starter as it required channeling Leftist desires through an established political system. This establishment would not Leftism develop. This view is similar to the way many American libertarians look at Beltway libertarians today.
Lenin hated anarchists because he viewed their Blanquist outbursts as sporadic and unplanned violence. He put down several anarchist uprisings before and after seizing power. Much like Antifa, Leftist anarchists at the time were impulsive. Their uncoordinated revolts made them vulnerable to Tsarist repression. Furthermore, these violent revolts did not aid in creating class consciousness in the masses. In short, Lenin believed that while Leftists, anarchists pursued a failing strategy in crushing or ascending power.
Lenin’s views on his contemporaries were correct. The measure of this is seeing who, in the end, imposed their will on the others. But how did Lenin seize power? Lenin was a believer that Leftist movements are doomed for failure unless coordinated by a central authority. This authority needed to simultaneously undertake multiple responsibilities including coordinating guerilla violence, propagandizing class consciousness, and playing politics. He and his fellow Bolsheviks assumed this role.
His theory was proven correct multiple times by Leftist movements throughout the rest of the 20th century. Leftist gradualism failed to seize or keep power in Chile, Venezuela, Guatemala, etc. Leftist Anarchist violence failed in achieving Leftist anarchy in Spain, Ukraine, Argentina, etc. Leftist movements led by a Lenin-style central authority succeeded in seizing and holding power in Cuba, Vietnam, Nicaragua, etc.
While these examples are not a definite judgment on the efficacy of gradualist and Blanquist strategies, they do serve as heuristics for those on the Right. They tell the Right where the danger to a free society is. Lenin serves the Right in identifying the way a malignant collectivist threat to a free society behaves. Lenin’s dismissal of benign threats serves the Right in knowing how unsuccessful collectivist movements behave.
Physical removal is expensive and requires the use of resources; it should be reserved for malignant threats. Benign threats can be destructive (in the form of Anarchist property damage) or annoying (in the form of collectivist rhetoric); yet, they are not worthy of the resources to be used on Bolsheviks. Another method should be devised to deal with these benign threats.
What a free society should guard against is the emergence of sophisticated collectivist leaders focused on power like Lenin. While this may seem like common sense, it is important note because these leaders are often perceived as either eccentric or immature and treated lightly. Take the cases of Chavez, Castro, or Lenin himself. All of these effective leaders were not taken seriously. They were able to coordinate guerillas, the masses, and politics to impose their will. Personal freedoms and order were lost because of this. Physical removal must not be spared as a remedy for this type of collectivist threat in a free society.
This distinction of malignant and benign threats to a free society is important to make. A free society cannot afford to overcorrect benign threats or undercorrect malignant threats. These miscalculations can damage a free society’s productivity, growth, and creativity. As we know, freedom is not a guarantee and even in Ancapistan, it must be guarded. Leninism provides the Right a lens to use in guarding a free society’s foundation.
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