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ziq_postcivver wrote (edited )

I'm not a primitivist but I am definitely critical of civilization. I think a lot of the concerns come from a misunderstanding of what primitivist and other anti-civilization anarchisms really are.

There is no "anarcho-primitivist system", no one (save maybe a few romantics) is seriously proposing that we immediately "revert" back to a pre-civilizational existence (as if such a thing were even possible).

Instead, most primitivist and anti-civ theory is about making substantial and well-reasoned critiques of civilization and exploring possibilities for a future beyond civilization. Industrial civilization, at the very least, is obviously not sustainable, not to mention the vast amount of misery it requires to maintain itself. I know I hate living in it.

The usual accusations of bigotry against various groups:

Strict gender binaries are a product of civilization as well, A lot has been written on this subject, I'd suggest "The Prehistory of Sex" by Timothy Taylor for more on trans people before civilization.

Vegans: If you really want to be "cruelty free", industrial agriculture is not the way to go. Just because a vegan today does not eat direct animal products, the vast swaths of land required to produce their soy hotdogs and almond milk, as well as the entire industrial infrastructure that manufactures and transports it is killing plenty of animals.

The elderly: Most pre-civ people lived to around 60-70 years so I'm not sure what the point here is. I'm also not sure what the allure of living to 95 is if you spend your last few decades plugged into a dialysis machine or a television in a nursing home.

To summarize, primitivists don't have "notions that are not in favor of disabled people...". Maybe they just see these things in a different light.

This is a good essay that illustrates much of anti-civ theory:


amongstclouds wrote (edited )

Very good post and you summarized everything I see on the topic perfectly. I think the 'left' needs a boogieman at times so it can continue playing the 'moral' high-ground, but without doing much else besides virtue signaling.

There is too much faith put in science and technology as if they are inherently good things that will bring about a utopic paradise for us in its own right -- if only things were this simple.

I also think a lot of people expect alternatives to coincide with the critiques of civilization... but again, if only things were this simple.

One thing a lot of people do tend to gloss over in anti-civ circles is the idea that civilization is a purely material entity. By this I mean they ignore the state/colonizer/police in their minds and expect that changing their material circumstances alone will bring about immense societal change. As long as that colonizer exists within our mind we will be doomed to the repetitive rhythm of history.


HugeChessBrain wrote (edited )

Let me know if I mischaracterize your position in any way, but I have a small objection I'd be curious to hear your thoughts on.

It is true that rigid gender binary is closely linked with civilization. I am a trans woman and my personal conception of being transgender (I don't believe this applies to all transgender people) involves a disconnect between my "brain sex" and my (now former) physical sex characteristics. This is the only understanding of being transgender I've found that fits my personal experience. I believe this idea can be found in The Whipping Girl by Julia Serano. As a result of this I believe that even in a society without a rigid gender binary I would have a need to physically transition to whatever extent possible.

In a future beyond industrial civilization, I'm assuming this physical transition would be more or less impossible. I find the anti-civ position appealing, but as a result of possibly being unable to physically transition I'm not sure I'd want to live in a post-civilization world. No amount of freedom to determine my gender and have it acknowledged by others would make up for my physical sex characteristics being wrong.

I'm curious to hear any general thoughts you have on this. In your view what would the life of a person such as myself be like, post-civilization? Is this response just completely misguided? I'm operating from a place of nearly complete ignorance so please forgive me.


ziq_postcivver wrote (edited )

Since you specifically mentioned 'post-civilization', that's a lot different than anarcho-primitivism. Postciv anarchists don't reject all technology, instead we weigh the benefits the technology provides us against the harm it does to the world and keep the things that make the world a better place. is worth a read if you want to know more about postciv anarchism and how it approaches different technologies.

Die-hard anarcho primitivists would likely reject surgery and HRT if they actually lived a primitive lifestyle (which few do). I've seen trans primitivists that will only use herbal alternatives to HRT (which don't work nearly as well). But if you need surgery and drugs, anarcho-primitivism isn't for you. There are plenty of other anticiv persuasions that aren't so dogmatic and rigid when it comes to industrial tech.