Colin Ward, R.I.P.

by Jeff Taylor on February 26, 2010 · 6 comments <span>Print this article</span> Print this article

in Short

Jesse Walker of Reason has a nice remembrance of Colin Ward here.  Ward was a British anarchist who could be numbered among Bill Kauffman’s “Front-Porch Anarchists.”  His perspective dovetails nicely with the point of Patrick Deneen’s “Civic Friendship” piece, including M.K. Simkohvitch’s criticism of the top-down approach to social reform.  Ward sided with “the tradition of fraternal and autonomous association springing up from below” instead of the Fabian-Progressive approach of “authoritarian institutions directed from above.”  Like Tolstoy, Orwell, and Macdonald, Ward was a leftist who embraced freedom and was not willing to sacrifice actual people on the altar of theoretical constructs.  Thanks, Jesse, for bringing Colin Ward to our attention.

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

avatar Bruce Smith February 26, 2010 at 7:39 pm

I had a teacher at high school who was a leftish anarchist. He taught me comparative politics and was always trying to convince me of the wisdom of his views. I found it easy to resist because I regularly used to walk to the local swimming pool with my friends and passed an antique shop owned by a Jewish family. In the display window of their shop they always maintained a display of photographs of the pits in German concentration camps full of the skeletal corpses of the inmates.

avatar Jim Dooley February 26, 2010 at 8:26 pm

Excuse me. Those pits were filled from the top down, not from the bottom up. It is generally not people walking to the local swimming pool in whom big ideas occur about how extinguishing a race solves all your problems. Big government, big solutions, little government, little solutions. All in all, I’d say that the main lesson of the 20th century + 10 is take your chances with little solutions.

avatar Jeff Taylor February 27, 2010 at 1:27 am

I’m with you, Jim. Hitler was not an anarchist. He was a fascist. Totalitarian government is the complete opposite of anarchy.

avatar Matthew Rogers February 27, 2010 at 7:30 pm

I concur with Jim and Jeff anarchism which the absence of state coercion is the very opposite of fascism in which the state controls everything and is worshiped, where on earth do people like Bruce come up with these odd ideas that anti statism equals pro statism?

I BTW consider my myself to be an open to paleo-cons left Libertarian and appreciate FPR wiliness to honor to honor anti-statists on the left even though you consider yourselves to be somewhat on the paleo-con right. More of this type of communication and exchange of ideas please!

avatar Bruce Smith March 9, 2010 at 9:17 am

In the movie “The Cure” the central character, a young boy, has Aids. He tells his best friend that it’s like living with poisoned blood. When both I and my friends looked at the photographs of the holocaust pits we could see the bodies of boys about our age. We could not help but speculate whether this could happen to us. For the first time we had to acknowledge that human beings were capable not just of giving unconditional love like our parents but also of irrationally attaching “labels” to other human beings to the effect that their blood was poisoned and they were therefore anathema. From this moment on I could not help but speculate about what stood between me and a bunch of irrationals wanting to “label” me as a prelude to murdering me. Somehow my leftist anarchist teacher didn’t cut it any longer as a useful individual to defend me from the irrationals. He was the one who was always railing against organized government of any description effectively “labeling” them as being the spawn of the devil. It was the loving and rational parents who would organize together who would offer my best line of defense. To pretend that would not require elaborate organization against a whole nation of irrational totalitarians and that elaborate organization should not be given the name of “government” was irrational to me as the thinking of the totalitarians.

avatar Gene Mayes January 20, 2012 at 12:07 pm

I’m several years late to the party, but the Holocaust was the result of obedience, not disobedience.

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