Monday, March 23, 2009

Spidercat! Spidercat! Does all the things that a spidercat does!

This morning Houseboy and I took the Neurotic Cat into the vet specialist way out in Buffalo Grove, Illinois to turn him radioactive.  Apparently they blast him with some kind of isotopes and that will make him less angry and pukey and skinny butt-ed.  On the way out there I let him out of the cat carrier and he puked, looked out the window for a really long time, and then made a break for it, via the back of Houseboy's head.  

Also on the way up and back, I paid a dollar (each way) to drive on the absolute worst stretch of road (not counting the Pennsylvania Turnpike which isn't really a road so much as a state-sponsored death trap) that I've ever had the pleasure of paying for.  It was actually amusing how as soon as we passed the tollbooth, it went from nice pavement to bomb zone.

That's as much of a segue as you're going to get into this week's reading, featuring: Anarchy!  First, I read an article in The Believer from some other month that is not this one, about a guy going undercover with the Anarchists who were protesting the Republican National Convention in Minnesota last year.  From this I learned what I already know: southern Minnesota is mostly corn and water towers, anarchists do not bathe as regularly as the rest of us, and the Anarchy Movement is kind of an oxymoron.

Similarly, A Girl Among the Anarchists, which was originally published in 1903, didn't really challenge my assumptions about Anarchy or Anarchists.  Most of the "characters" (this is loosely based on the real lives of Helen and Olivia Rossetti) are doing very little outside of writing and publishing tracts on Anarchy and debating with one another what Real Anarchy is and occasionally stealing shit because ownership of property is a false construct, or somesuch.  About 2/3 of the way through the book, the "Girl" of the title somewhat ironically lays out exactly what I see as the problem with Anarchy.  She is describing two brothers who stole all their employer's money and took off with it, because 1) they don't recognize private property, and 2) they needed it.  The employer then shot himself:

What they lacked was moral strength.  Under ordinarily good influences they would have acted in an ordinarily proper way.  They had not the force of character necessary for handling the Anarchist individualist doctrines, which, excellently as they may work with men of character, are fatal to weaker men.
(p. 206)

It seems obvious to me that not everyone would act in a moral or thoughtful way if they were left to their own devices.  If completely "freed" from  any understanding of obligation to our fellow man, how many of us would still feed the poor or refrain from stealing whatever we want, or even pause at a stoplight?  Maybe I have a lower view of human nature than Anarchists do, but it seems to me that she is here acknowledging that issue.  And as long as there are some who cannot handle "the Anarchist individualist doctrines," then it's a system that cannot work, because it is a system without any recourse or solution for those who don't fit in.  In fact, it's not a system at all.  


1 comment:

  1. Yeah. I never understood that. It seems like the kind of thing I'd want to be all about, but it just doesn't add up for me.