Monday, February 13, 2012

Ties that bind

Alexandra Popoff, Sophia Tolstoy:
The Tolstoyan agricultural colonies were notorious for various incidents, which led to their breakup. Such colonies had sprung up in the 1880s, but none lasted longer than a year: people who fled convention were a disagreeable lot. Their attempts to live and work together were doomed -- quarrels were common, and since they rejected the law, there was no way of solving their disputes. They believed in the superiority of their moral principles but could not survive as a community. Commenting on what he perceived as a failure of their movement, Aylmer Maude would remark: "Again and again attempts have been made to cure social ills by persuading people to stand aside from the main stream of human life, and to save their souls by following an isolated course; but all paths of social improvement except the common highway trodden by the common man have proved to be blind alleys." Like Maude, Sophia [Tolstoy] met many idle and inefficient "wanderers" among the Tolstoyans. She was appalled by the scandals in the Tolstoy Colonies, which were widely known. In 1891, Nikolai Karonin, a populist writer, published "The Borskaya Colony," a story about intellectuals who founded a commune with the idea of helping peasants. Instead, they brought ruin: a peasant girl was raped and later committed suicide. The fact-based account appeared in the journal Russian Thought and produced a sensation, hurtful to Tolstoy's cause.
One needn't accept every assumption here to see that there is something to holding oneself in opposition to the "main stream of human life" which does not lend itself to anything better, and frequently contributes to some things that are worse.

I often give the example of abuses I have witnessed between people with the finest political pedigrees -- far worse in the damage they do than anything I have experienced coming from a boss.

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The guy who married & beat up Andrea Dworkin was, wait for it, an anarchist. So often these staunchly moral principles seem to be adopted merely as a cover, a kind of obscuring sanctimony...or maybe it's a way to expiate subconscious guilt.

Speaking of, have you read The Kreutzer Sonata?

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We've all been living in anarchy since the beginning; a state of order has never been tested, anymore than an actual communist society ever has. The result of utter freedom and anarchy is the development of propaganda-supported warfare states that support the illusory property and caste rights of the elites.

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