You know, I’m pretty far left, but I despise the perverse machinations of the state. Most leftists I know feel the same, this idea that the state should only have so much power, if any, and the rest should be held by the people. Traditional Libertarianism gets some of it right in how people should be able to live their lives free from the tyranny of an oppressive state.
A key difference is that my flavor of freedom, anarcho-communism, also believes that hierarchies cause suffering because they build caste systems, where if you’re born rich, you’ll likely stay rich as long as you don’t decide to do something incredibly ruinous (and even then there are safeties in place to return some of your money to you). Conversely, if you’re poor you’re likely to stay poor unless outside forces allow “advancement” up the ladder, and no amount of work will open up a higher level of access. Where Libertarianism is founded upon the principle that a free market gives greater freedom to people, Anarcho-communists (or anarchists, really) believe that capitalism is inherently unequal, and that the end result is a concentration of wealth to the few, and poverty for the many.
Contrary to popular belief, anarchists aren’t all about wild abandon and a society of mob rule. The idea behind anarchy is that every person has a vote, has a voice. There is no hierarchy, but there is a lateral form of governance, where people form councils and co-ops, and everyone is involved on some level, so that no one is given short shrift. It’s supposed to be a utopian society, because it requires humans to look out for the interests of not only themselves but others. The problem with utopian societies is that all it takes is a few truly determined assholes to gum up the works. It can also be influenced from the outside, especially right now. Several anarchist societies have tried to form, with Revolutionary Catalonia in the 1930s being the best example, and for a few years it worked, but the problem with being a society of equity surrounded by unequal societies that wish to consolidate power is that you better have the offensive and defensive capability to back it up, and they didn’t, and so after a short 3 years, Revolutionary Catalonia was no more (George Orwell lamented its loss as he was an avid believer in its goals).
So while I am an optimist, and a believer that some day humanity will be able to have a society free of poverty and inequality, I also know that today isn’t that day, nor will it likely happen in my lifetime, but I can still hope for it and work towards it. In the meantime, there are nice big steps we can take to alleviate the most glaring forms of poverty and inequality now. This idea that leftists want an oppressive nanny state, though, it’s just scaremongering. Socialism isn’t evil, and while it’s not the end goal I’d like to see for human society, it is a big step in the right direction, where humans stop focusing on capital centered markets, and focus on human centered needs. As it stands now, money is more important than people, and that needs to stop, because what I mentioned earlier, most of the wealth being concentrated into the hands of a few while the rest live in poverty, that’s where we are now, and that sure as shit isn’t a leftist policy making that happen.
I’m a member of the DSA and the IWW, and I’m tired of poor people getting fucked over, their meager wealth being funneled upwards into the hands of people who simply take the fruits of that labor and squander it on themselves, making sure policy always works in their favor, always works out to leave them alone in whatever it does, and they’re just shuffling the deck chairs on the Titanic, making it seem as if progress is being made while the engineers drown as they keep the lights on. I want that to end. THAT is my leftist ideology.