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Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Is BDSM Compatible With Anarchism?

I'm an anarchist. No, let me rephrase that. I'm a motherfucking anarchist. I spent some thirty years as a Libertarian/minarchist (which are also valid philosophies, but don't go the last mile toward full freedom. Full, scary freedom.) because the attitude in the LP back then was "Anarchy leads to totalitarianism."

And that's possibly valid. Possibly. But statism definitely leads to totalitarianism.

As many have pointed out, if a limited government and a constitution worked, we wouldn't be in the predicament we're in now.

So, anarchist. Full-blown.

And as much as I'd like to say that I am an "Anarchist Without Adjectives", as Karl Hess put it, I'm not. I'm also a capitalist.

Yes, that word has terrible connotations. But that's your problem, not mine. Many of us make the distinction because there's another contingent of anarchists that are collectivists. Communists, they call themselves.

Which is fine, if you don't want to try and impose your world-view upon others. But they generally do. They seek an end to voluntary trade, property ownership, currency, and things like that.

Totalitarians, basically.

Anyhoo. That's all hashed out on a daily basis online, and not what I wish to opine upon.

"No gods, no masters" is a popular slogan on both sides of the aisle.

Where does that leave the practicing slavemaster? The dedicated submissive? I'm talking of course about bondage and discipline, if not sadism-masochism.

Frankly, I have no idea, as I've never had the pleasure of dating an actual anarchist female. Oh yes, my brothers, they do exist...

But, but, how would one resolve the two? How can one practice the domination of another, while at the same time morally opposing the very concept?

The answer, though, is simple. Voluntarism.

If you know anything about BDSM in the first place, it's all basically role-play. The submissives tend to run the show. There is a power exchange that takes place. But that power exchange is voluntary. Free of coercion.

If it's not, you're doing it wrong.

This all leads back to the concept of capitalism, and its compatibility with anarchism.

"How can you claim to be an anarchist, if you want to work for someone else, a master?"

Because it's a voluntary choice. Voluntary choice is at the heart of all moral actions. Anyone who tells you otherwise is probably lying.

Master/slave is an outmoded concept, in the working world. People who throw around phrases like "wage slave" would benefit from spending some time in actual slavery. Which still exists in the world, to this day.

It would be nice, I suppose, if those decrying the act of working for a lawn service (Who Will Mow The Lawns?) instead focused on the people all over the world held in actual bondage. Even in the United States, there are people being held against their will, and forced to work for pennies an hour.

They're called felons. Slavery is still legal in the U.S. Please be a lamb and look it up. And this isn't some obscure law at the state level. It's embedded in the Constitution.

So much for the concept of state-enabled freedom.

There are also people, primarily women, being held in basements, shitty apartments, secluded houses. Not all of them women, of course. And not all of them adults. But they are indeed slaves, in the worst sense of the word.

So, BDSM and anarchism? Meh. It is our privilege to be able to pretend. But we would do well to consider those whose lives aren't filled with fantasy, to whom the collar is real, and can't be removed.

Probably as we sip lattes at Starbucks. ; )