Alan Jacobs is not, to my knowledge, a Porcher, though he ought to be; his insightful reflections upon Christianity, literature, society, and the state are hugely relevant to all sorts of different ways of pondering the struggles facing those who wish to attend to, preserve, or even extend a concern for local economies and social orders. In a recent essay in Harper’s, Jacob’s sharp mind and prose turns to anarchism, the ideal of state-less self-organizing which has been not infrequently discussed on this website. Ursula Le Guin’s famous–and famously difficult–novel The Dispossessed, which tells the story of group of anarchist rebels who set up an “ambiguous utopia” on a poorly resourced moon which orbits a well-resourced, and hence much wealthier and–not coincidentally–much more hierarchical and coercive, home planet. Student of C.S. Lewis and “mere Christian” that Jacobs is, his reflections lead him, while exploring other anarchist and anarchist-adjacent thinkers, to a suitably ambiguous conclusion: that the anarchist sentiment is a worthy one, exactly because it underlines–implicitly, if not explicitly–our own fallenness. Leaning on the late anthropologist David Graeber’s “Fragments of an Anarchist Anthropology,” Jacobs points to “the secular Calvinist hidden within,” and reflects: “The best reason to pursue anarchism, to walk that line between chaos and the man, is that none of us is free from greed or vainglory. Insofar as anarchism arises from that sober and constant awareness of the ‘moral dangers’ our own libido dominandi present to social order, I am all for it.” Insofar as a Christian articulation of anarchism goes, I’m not sure any Porcher could put it better.

Local Culture
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