Re: [anthroposophy_tomorrow] Free Thought & Good Citizenship
- William O. Reichert:
Five years later when Tucker brought out his new journal, Liberty, he advised those of his subscribers who could read French to send for a copy of Bakunin's "Dieu et l'Etat" in which theology was presented from an anarchistic perspective and which concluded with the profession that "God, or the illusion called God, is responsible for all the authority that oppresses, and most of the evils that afflict, mankind."
"The man who awakens at last to the conviction that basically these powers are human beings as weak as himself, seeks guidance from a higher power, from a Divine Being, whom he endows, however, with sense perceptible features. He conceives this Being as communicating to him the conceptual content of his moral life, again in a perceptible way - whether it be, for example, that God appears in the burning bush, or that He moves about among men in manifest human shape, and that their ears can hear Him telling them what to do and what not to do."
- Die Philosophie der Freiheit 1894, GA #4: kap. 10: Freiheitsphilosophie und Monismus.
In his outspoken attack upon the notion of God, Tucker was not an irresponsible iconoclast seeking cheap notoriety or sensationalism but a serious exponent of a profound and rigorous social methodology that might aid humanity in its quest for a meaningful definition of freedom. Tucker proclaimed religious authority the primary source of intellectual confusion and hence a social sickness that must be eradicated before the work of social and political reform might begin.
Unfortunately, many anarchists have conflated suppressive church-religion with all theistic spirituality and subscribed to the Marxist "dialectical materialism." My purpose with introducing anarchist thinking into the context of Steiner's individualism is *not* to make anthroposophists into anarchists - and I repeat that I am not an anarchist but an anacrhosophist - but to remind anarchists that if there is no room for occultism and spirituality in their utopian system, then anarchism cannot any longer be said to base itself upon human freedom, liberty.
From Tucker's point of view, the major shortcoming of the conventional religious mind is that it is incapable of freeing itself from petrified notions of right and wrong. Where men accept truth as the sacred commandments of a god, Tucker argued, the individual can assert no right to deviate from that which has been commanded. "God, to be God, must be a governing power," he proclaimed, and hence the entire social structure that has come into being within organized Christiandom stands as a formidable obstacle to any modification or reformation of the human condition.
Compare these views by Tucker with Steiner's "Moral Imagination (Darwinism and Morality)."
Tucker was not oblivious of the fact that the acceptance of Christ's admonition to his followers to act with love toward their fellowmen was intended to uplift the actions of men within society and thus to bring about a better world. But he countered, "the whole doctrine of love of neighbor as a 'commandment' is the utter denial . . . and a perversion of the word 'love'." Those who love their fellowmen because they have been ordered to do so totally obliterate the crucial distinction that must be drawn between love and its opposite, hate, and therefore their love is rendered superficial and socially ineffective. Such a love is "a stifling of all natural attraction to that which is lovable and of all natural repugnance to that which is hateful, - a rigid, formal, heartless, soulless, and sort of unconsciously hypocritical joining of hands."
Uncle Taz applauds.
This is not to suggest that either Proudhon or Tucker were nihilistic and thus unmindful of the fundamental importance of law in all human relationships. To the contrary, both of them were ardent champions of the view that law permeates every level of the universe - economic, social, or political - and that the person who ignores that law does so at his own peril.
Looks like a recognition of karmic law to me, albeit a *subconscious* recognition.
It is important to note here that Tucker's definition of authority equates with the definition of authority offered by free thought, that is, authority is "any coercive force not developed spontaneously and naturally out of the constitution of the individual himself or herself." This was not to deny that human beings are inevitably structured in their individual actions by forces of one kind or another. In fact, Tucker held, nature itself is made up of forces that have a direct impact upon everyone. "But we want native, healthy, spontaneous forces in social life, not arbitrary, extraneous, usurping forces", Tucker insisted. "And we believe in authority too," he urged, "when authority is made to mean that which is sifted through reason and made welcome by choice."
Again, Uncle Taz applauds.
In defining authority in this manner, Tucker, like Proudhon, placed himself squarely within the school of natural right which holds that right and wrong are not wholly arbitrary or figments of the imagination but binding principles that every serious individual must observe if he is to realize the full potential of his social nature. Moral principles, that is to say, were not for Tucker relative to the situational needs or interests of isolated individuals, and hence expendable when the situation called for it, but socially operative forces that were created by virtue of the deliberate choice of free agents acting upon native instincts they felt within.
This is *extremely* parallel to Steiner's PoF.
These moral forces could not be handed down from on high by some religious or political authority but must be generated anew by each functioning group in society as one age of humanity gave way through time to another. As Tucker put it in the very first volume of Liberty, "Right and wrong are principles that must ever he defined, qualified, and circumscribed by the individual, in his associative capacity . . .; circumscribed [only] by the inflexible law that all action, individual and associative, shall be at the cost of the party or parties acting." Under this conception of things, any individual had a perfect right to do anything he might voluntarily choose to do providing that he was willing to accept the full consequences of his actions.
So far so good.
Were this one basic law made universal, Tucker argued, and the hands of "Church, State, and every other arbitrary, coercive" despotism removed from the shoulders of the individual, "perfect Liberty will result as naturally as all other things find their level in nature."
Personally, I find this view somewhat naive and simplified. Human nature, with its extremely complex juxtaposition of good and evil light and darkness, defies easy solutiuons to the social question, and in this sense, raw, political anarchism is a simplification. It must not be forgotten that anarchism is "Demanding the Impossible," as Peter Marshall put it in the very title of his book about the history of anarchism:
Where Hobbes had conceived of law as binding chains from the lips of the public sovereign to the ears of the subservient citizen, Tucker insisted that the citizen, "Instead of making oath to God and his prince," ought to swear only "upon his conscience, before his brothers, and before Humanity," for "between these two oaths there is the same difference as between slavery and liberty, faith and science, courts and justice, usury and labor, government and economy, non-existence and being, God and man."
This is where Steiner exceeds Tucker with an even more radical and revolutionary idea which conquers even the tyranny of conscience, which Tucker seems to be clinging to here. This is whar makes Rudolf Steiner the unsurpassed master of anarchism for those able to comprehend it imho:
The highest stage of development of naïve realism in the sphere of morality is that where the moral commandment (moral idea) is separated from every being other than oneself and is thought of, hypothetically, as being an absolute power in one's own inner life. What man first took to be the external voice of God, he now takes as an independent power within him, and speaks of this inner voice in such a way as to identify it with conscience.
But in doing this he has already gone beyond the stage of naïve consciousness into the sphere where the moral laws have become independently existing standards. There they are no longer carried by real bearers, but have become metaphysical entities existing in their own right. They are analogous to the invisible "visible forces" of metaphysical realism, which does not seek reality through the part of it that man has in his thinking, but hypothetically adds it on to actual experience. These extra-human moral standards always occur as accompanying features of metaphysical realism. For metaphysical realism is bound to seek the origin of morality in the sphere of extra-human reality.
- Die Philosophie der Freiheit 1894, GA #4: kap. 10: Freiheitsphilosophie und Monismus.