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More enemies of civilization

Posted by Richard on September 29, 2005

I’ve got to start reading the Gates of Vienna more regularly. If it weren’t for Robert Bidinotto, I might have missed Visualize Industrial Collapse, Baron Bodissey’s remarkable post about a group called the Coalition Against Civilization, which he encountered at the Charlottesville Vegetarian Festival.

The group was hawking "Visualize Industrial Collapse" bumper stickers and pamphlets entitled A Primitivist Primer and Species Traitor. Bodissey scanned and OCRed the former, which is something of an "anarcho-primitivist" manifesto, and posted the text here. It begins with an attempt at definition:

Anarcho-primitivism (a.k.a. radical primitivism, anti-authoritarian primitivism, the anti-civilization movement, or just, primitivism) is a shorthand term for a radical current that critiques the totality of civilization from an anarchist perspective, and seeks to initiate a comprehensive transformation of human life. …

For anarcho-primitivists, civilization is the overarching context within which the multiplicity of power relations develop. … Anarcho-primitivism incorporates elements from various oppositional currents – ecological consciousness, survivalism, animal liberation, anarchist anti-authoritarianism, feminist critiques, Situationist ideas, zero-work theories, Luddite and technological criticism – but goes beyond opposition to single forms of power to refuse them all and pose a radical alternative.

In a nutshell, the "radical alternative" is this: no division of labor, no industry, no tools beyond what you as an individual can make, and no organizations that last. You might work cooperatively with others on a specific occasion to build a rock wall, for instance, but an ongoing wall-building organization or enterprise would lead to "systems of control and coercion."

Read Bodissey’s dissection of this insanity. He generously estimated that the earth could support a billion people at such a stone-age level of existence (I think that’s a couple of orders of magnitude too high). That means 80% of the population has to disappear:

I don’t think herbal contraceptives and the rhythm method are going to do the job. And I think the leaders of these movements know it, even if they don’t dare say so in their pamphlets. To achieve their ideal society, to create their heaven on earth, four billion people will have to die. Who do you think those people will be? …

When the time comes, when the Untelevised Revolution finally seizes the levers of power, it will be the Central Committee of the Anarcho-Green People’s Coalition that makes the decisions. The workers and bureaucrats and truck drivers and school children won’t just lie down in the streets to die. No, it will be Pol Pot all over again, only done righteously this time.

They’ll go in single file across the organic soybean fields to the mass graves that have been so thoughtfully prepared for them.

And you can bet that the bulldozer and the pistol will be the last technological artifacts to be given up after the Green Millenium arrives.

Bidinotto noticed the similarity between these eco-freaks and other nihilistic enemies of civilization:

Unbelievable?

Well, a decade or two ago, who would have believed that parents would be celebrating their sons and daughters for strapping on explosives, walking onto buses and into discos, and blowing themselves and scores of others to smithereens?

Who would have believed that an organized gang of fanatics would commandeer airliners and dive them into the Pentagon and the World Trade Center?

Who would have believed that thugs would torch scientific and medical labs, or threaten and beat up medical researchers…in the name of the "rights" of mice and rats?

Who would have believed that there could actually exist a group called "The Voluntary Human Extinction Movement" — advocating not merely the collapse of civilization, but the total extermination of the human race?

Critics of the late novelist Ayn Rand used to laugh off her fictional villains as crude caricatures. "Preposterous," they would sniff. "Nobody is that bad." But for sheer evil, no character she invented in The Fountainhead or Atlas Shrugged could possibly rival those nihilists who dominate the daily headlines in our newspapers.

Like it or not, folks, this is
war — an all-out war for the survival of civilization and the human race. And the scariest thing about it?

The fact that even now, only one side in the battle fully grasps that war has even been declared…or knows what the war is really all about.

And here’s the real irony: The most effective and dangerous people making war against civilization aren’t the arsonists and suicide bombers. No, it’s the ones who use the institutions and technologies of civilization to undermine the values of civilization. Species Traitor has a website. The worship of Gaia and the denigration of reason, progress, and modernity are taught every day in our schools and universities and promoted in films, music, books, and other modern media. And al Qaeda uses satellite phones and camcorders in its quest to undo the Enlightenment and the Industrial Revolution.

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