I don't understand non-utopian politics

Submitted by zzuum in Anarchism

If you don't havea vision of a so called perfect society that you strive for, what's the point? How can you elect officials or support policies if you don't even have a bigger picture to relate them to?

Like liberals and conservatives alike decry leftists as not being practical. Why the fuck should we be practical? Practicality has led the world to colonization and wars and slavery, lack of progress in every social sphere, and destroying the world.

For example, let's take the conservative stance on climate change in the US. They believe that, at it's most liberal interpretation, protecting the Earth shouldn't interfere with business. Ok, so your vision of a perfect society is one in which corporations control a planet hot as hell and unlivable? Where's your god damn imagination?

IDK if that made sense to anyone


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Splinglebot wrote

What they seem to conveniently ignore is the fact that you can still be practical/pragmatic in how you try to achieve your ideals

Pragmatism and idealism are not diametrically opposed, and in fact compliment eachother. After all, how can you be "pragmatic" when you have no ideals, no goal to achieve? You can't. If you're not aiming for something then there cannot be any pragmatic steps to achieve your goal, because there is no goal. A rational choice cannot exist without a goal in mind. You can't make logical deductions without axioms. Even something that might seem so obviously "logical" like making sure you have enough food to eat is only "logical" because you have some sort of goal. The only reason it's rational to make sure you have food is because you don't want to starve, the reason you don't want to starve is because you want to survive - which is in itself a goal, or an ideal. It's not based in reasoning. No matter what "logical", "pragmatic", "rational" or "practical" action someone takes, if you trace the reasoning back far enough you'll ultimately reach a goal they have, or an ideal - one that isn't in itself based in reason or pragmatism.

When liberals/conservatives say they're being "pragmatic" they're usually just making an excuse to uphold the status quo. Abolitionists were considered "unpractical" for demanding the immediate emancipation of the slaves, they were "idealists" who "didn't understand how the world works", yet slavery was abolished and the world still worked. They may well be "pragmatic", but only if your ideal is to let the rich get richer and screw over everyone else.

Related: Kropotkin's "Are we good enough?"


ziq wrote

I mean, they do have a utopia, it's just one where abortion is punished by death and every child has coal-stained fingers.


zzuum wrote

I guess this rant is more directed towards "the common Man" rather than the elites. Like the Christan conservative down the street. Like what's your goal, put all the brown people in jail so when Jesus makes his return he can handle them with ease or something?


rot wrote

I'd consider myself a non-utopian Anarchist. There's no perfect society that I strive for ideals yes but not a form of society that I try to make society conform to.


bloodrose wrote

I think most people operate on pain avoidance. The system is so huge, so all-pervasive, no one imagines a different system but instead imagines a little less harm to themselves personally. This is how in the US you wind up with single issue voters. Women who fear losing what few reproductive rights they have. People who feel not owning an assault rifle will diminish their lives. People wind up participating in the system in a hope that they can mitigate some of the damage the system is doing to them.


surreal wrote

cause some people just don't give a fuck, they 'yolo' their life with destructive materialism and the ultimate drug which is power, a culture that lacks empathy and ethos.


ConquestOfToast wrote

The issue I have with Utopia is that it quickly becomes something thats held in higher regard than the community that's supposed to live in it. Because Utopia isn't just having a set of ideals you'd like to have prominent in a society, it's also how those ideals play off and into each other. I feel that what quickly happens is that these ideals in various extremes end up contradicting each other and in doing so the only "goal" of that society is to uphold Utopia at the expense of these ideals.


ziq wrote

Which is exactly why all utopias are dystopias.


ConquestOfToast wrote

I also feel utopian anarchists have this weird like obsession with cultural Erasure. Typically white anarchists just don't seem to be capable of imagining multiple Utopias born from different cultural contexts. The values of these Utopias are either too vague as to be of any use, or so specific that it's clearly eurocentric. And that doesn't sit right with me.


ConquestOfToast wrote

Agreed. I never really understood the appeal of utopian thinking even before I shifted politics.


throwaway wrote

David Graber starts out 'Fragments of an anarchist anthropology' with a short sentence on this topic, it goes like this:

If you're not an utopian, you're definitely an idiot


jadedctrl wrote (edited )

I don't aim for a perfect, utopian society-- but I want a significantly better society.
Even an anarchist, communist society wouldn´t be Utopian: there´d still be pain, conflict, and violence (just not nearly as much).


boringskip wrote

i agree, we're really just working toward a utopia that irl would sound too weird