Saturday, July 19, 2014

Book Review, Popeye Edition

"Popeye edition" as in "I've had all I can stand, and I can stands no more!"

I've been plowing, no slogging, through Demanding the Impossible: A History of Anarchism , by Peter Marshall.

The problems with my finishing this book are manifold, among them
  1. It was written by a True Believer
  2. Who assumes that the reader is one too
  3. And has a knowledge of the philosophy of anarchism. 

Being at base a working class guy from Detroit I have little interest in or patience with philosophy, and I regard anyone who believes that all we need to do is get rid of government and private property and everyone will suddenly be nice to each other as an idiot.

Oh, and telling me that in your Cloud Cuckoo Land that I will be required to work--and by whom, pray tell?--but that I will not be allowed the fruits of my labor does less than nothing to endear your pipe dreams to me. In fact, I suspect that the source of these fantasies did, indeed, have it's origin in a opium pipe.

I also found it annoying that  the author uses "anarchism" and "libertarianism" and "socialism" as synonyms.

So, my actual review of the book can be summarized as "TL;DR."  Seriously, just over 700 pages of text, most of which was sound and fury signifying... well, it might have signified something to someone, but, as for me, it was words, words, words.  Maybe it gets better after page 320, which was about where I gave up.

If you finish it, let me know how it ends.


Anonymous said...

Perhaps more to your liking, if you are trying to cover the topic would be Men Against the State -- Though still, words of old history! In combination with a couple more modern period histories of libertarianism that I would like to read .. David Boaz wrote one, and one by, um, hmm, used to write for Reason, doggone not going to remember it off the top of my head. Anyway, yeah, my sympathies and 'socialist anarchism' never made sense to me either. Syndicalism a tiny bit maybe, but not really.
-Erik from Seattle

PS what the heck were you doing trying to read that, anyway?

D.W. Drang said...

Trying to broaden the horizons, I suppose, plus a little "Know thy enemy." Although I've known a few anarchists, and called them friends, so that's going a little far.

OTOH: Eugene, OR; Black Block; May Day; WTO Riots, etc., so...

His points about the similarities between Libertarianism and Anarchism may be well made, except that he was more making subtle suggestions than points. That's why I say he was preaching to the choir, and I wandered into the wrong service.