Part III stopped when I and H were talking about anarchy in his car. I spent the rest of the weekend at S’s, apologizing to everyone, and always receiving a ‘But you don’t need to!’ in return. I said to K that I still wanted to do it, pro forma, cause not doing it would mean I’m somehow entitled to stay there. I got the same thing when I started doing the washing-up. ‘But don’t go thinking that you’re under the obligation to…’ YES, I KNOW. I actually like doing the washing-up. It’s easy and you kinda give some back. I KNOW, I’M A GUEST. Just leave me alone, washing-up your stuff while listening to music. We’ll say it’s mutual help.
Saturday saw me try out the journey to the farm on bike, with no luggage. I’d bought myself a map. It was kinda long, and the return was creepy (no lights). I was dead by the time I returned. But it was possible and I was kinda proud. Hurray for cycling for 10 miles. I’d fixed the bike on my own in the morning; the gears were funny, the speed disappointing, but it worked well enough. I can’t remember how I spent sunday. I believe I probably woke up early, went on the internet, waiting for a certain S to wake up. This was long. I became impatient and took the bike around 8.30 to go downtown, looking possibly for a library with internet access, just for the fun of it. It was a nice sunny day. I couldn’t find any library, but the opening hours marked on the huge buildings made me realize that whatever library there might be around there, it was probably closed. A nice ride for no reason, but hey.
I went back to the house; everyone was still asleep. Someone came down at some point, and turned the radio on. [Interesting moment coming.] It was a talk about education. The general talking points were given: everyone needs a degree to be competitive in this world; you need to have real education, not mindless procedures to repeat, eg. in hospitals, etc. All this is bullshit.
Mandatory education is about obedience
I say that when an institution is forcibly imposed on people, whatever its original character, for instance education and flourishing, its main characteristic is precisely this coercion. If I must think back to my years in school, I don’t remember any particular lesson. And for good reason, because I never went to school for the lessons. I went to school because I had no other choice. I was forced to, even though I didn’t know I had a choice at the time. So school is really like a prison where people force themselves, because hey, you might need all this knowledge someday. You don’t want to end up on the streets, do you ? [Actual question asked by a primary school teacher of old, after my class had been particularly hectic. As you know, all kids are anarchists who are eventually broken by the system and their parents, and so we just laughed at the whole thing.]
What I do remember is, all the times some of us were particularly defiant, and a teacher was particularly pissed off. I remember being completely bored to death, and wanting to go like mad. I remember wondering what was the best strategy for time to go as fast as possible: to look at your watch every now and then, or to not look at all? Most kids in school wonder only about one thing: when they’re going to be released from this jail. They only fear one thing: not doing their homework, not being on time, not succeeding at a test. That’s what I got from school, and that’s what you and everyone else got from school. School is about learning to be bored, just like in real life, as the French TV show, Groland, once nicely put it. [Maybe with better terms.] It’s about learning to get ruled.
So anyway, S came down around noon. And asked what I was planning to do. Well, nothing particular. We talked a bit about natural law. Then, went down to the community center, cause she had stuff to do there. I was introduced to a man whose name I forgot, I’ve met so many people. Let’s say he was ‘the man whose name I forgot.’ Um, TMWNIF. He was quite talkative, and asked bluntly what kind of anarchist I was. I said it didn’t matter what kind, so long as you’re an anarchist. I didn’t want to talk about free markets, and good thing I didn’t cause TMWNIF was actually a marxist. A discussion ensued about guys who called themselves ‘Tory anarchists,’ S pointing out that any member of a party vying for power cannot possibly call himself an anarchist. TMWNIF informed me that he was for the use of the state for creative purposes.
“For instance, let’s say you have a shortage of French teachers. Well I think the state should encourage people to teach French, and provide financial incentives for that.”
All I did was smile, because he kept talking, on and on, and I didn’t feel like entering in this kind of argument. Now, a month later, I feel secure enough to do so. [I will jump off the window if I hear someone knock on the door though.] Well, how does it come about that there’s a ‘shortage’ of French teachers? Who says so? I must venture here and ask, is it the state? Or someone inside the state ? Thinking, ‘hey our people don’t speak French that much, we need more French teachers ?’ [Incidentally, this is what Sarkozy thinks regarding our English-speaking capacities, and therefore he has French kids work more hours on speaking English, like it’s his fucking kingdom. I know, under a state, it is.] Where does this urge to learn French come from? And if this comes from the population itself, whatever is the state necessary for? If there is a real demand, a real need, then people like me who are looking for work are going to think, hey I might do that if they need it so much! I might earn a living if I do that! By contrast, something that virtually no one wants would be much harder to work on.
A shortage of teachers, if it is genuine, is not an unsurmountable problem, and it doesn’t require the state to pay anything to anyone. Coercion is necessary only where a policy is futile/unnecessary, where it goes against people’s natural inclinations, and this is why a shortage that requires state funding to eradicate it is probably no shortage at all, except in the mind of statist lunatics who need to get a life and leave us alone.
TMWNIF also tells me about the fine French language, and the Academie Francaise’s efforts; whereas in England, everything is, apparently, bastardized. At this point, I do say that whatever the Academie Francaise choses to be the official French language, is not necessarily what I or others would choose. For instance, a few years ago, ’email’ was barred from the French language, because it was judged to be too English-sounding. It was replaced by ‘courriel.’ And I thought, ‘what the fuck is that shit?’ It doesn’t sound natural, it’s awful. And, we all say email anyway, and we’ll keep saying that until we die. Don’t those office fuckers have nothing better to do than trying to control how we speak so the language sounds better in their personal view? That’s ridiculous. TMWNIF kinda agreed, but did not give up his point about keeping a language pure. Beh.
S leaves me stuff to read about veganism, and this is a huge subject indeed. I’d been asking her to give me some kind of theoretical book that would present the case for veganism, in particular the idea that animals ought not to be oppressed. I got a few leaflets/booklets, but this wasn’t enough. As you know, I’m a tenant of natural law, and if animals must have rights, they will be natural and untouchable. This moved me to ask S why she wasn’t much more strident about it. After all, if there is a right to life for animals, then we are witnessing murder on a large scale everyday. And even though I was a de-facto vegan, cause I don’t want her and my other vegan friends to hate me, I still didn’t espouse the theory. Why wasn’t she a thousand times more militant then? Why didn’t she use force?
She explained that some people had tried, and it brought more resistance than adherence. Yet, that was coherent and I wish I’d been able to read from those people. I did find a book that looked more thorough, but the reasoning was nothing I hadn’t read before. The principle of equality must be extended to animals. Yet, in a natural law context, this is not believed even by hunt sabbers. To wit, I’ve seen many covers and pictures of such people holding animals in their arms. Let us posit that animals have natural rights, and the same as human, because of the principle of equality. The right of self-ownership, meaning that you are the only one in control of your body, argues against murder, confinement, oppression. But it also argues against touching without the person/animal’s consent.
One might say, that an animal is unable to give or withdraw its consent, and that cannot be held against them. After all, some people cannot give their consent due to mental illness, we don’t use them in the way we use some animals. That makes sense. Nevertheless, in the case of mentally ill people, we do not believe we can fondle them the way those animals are fondled on those hunt sabbers pictures. If then, animals have rights, you should certainly protect them against murderers, and you would be justified in stopping them, but you would also be forbidden to touch them afterwards. If you believe you aren’t, and those sabbers obviously do, then you are forced to appeal to some kind of a tacit consent that could just as well be invoked by the farmer who confines his chicken. In other words, my reply to natural-law-vegans is, if you’re so serious about what you’re saying, then hands off, you perv! Who told you you could touch that animal?
This incoherence leads me to reject veganism as a principle that can be enforced, like natural rights are. But I’ll try to be vegan cause I like my friends and it pains me to see their reaction when I say there were animals in the farm I was staying in.
Merry Christmas to all my friends !