The Vile Cowardice of the Modern Anarchist.

Nob Akimoto

Nob Akimoto is a policy analyst and part-time dungeon master. When not talking endlessly about matters of public policy, he is a dungeon master on the NWN World of Avlis

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66 Responses

  1. Patrick Cahalan says:

    Given that Anonymous isn’t exactly a structured organization, I think you might be attributing a lot more associative power than is there.

    I don’t think they’re quite as cohesive as you may think they are.Report

    • Perhaps. But surely they have enough coherence to say “cut that shit out” when someone’s using their name for a purpose they disapprove of.Report

      • Patrick Cahalan in reply to Nob Akimoto says:

        I wonder. I suspect that it’s more along the lines of cabals, loosely organized.

        There’s a reason *I* don’t ascribe to this sort of power structure, mind you…Report

      • Jason Kuznicki in reply to Nob Akimoto says:

        This does happen. I’ve seen it.

        I would ask you to seriously consider your sources about Anonymous. If they are just news stories, you’re not getting the full picture. They definitely try to police one another.Report

        • I feel like this is a bit of a bizarro world exchange, in that you’re defending unaccoutnable people using mass coercive force (albeit not lethal) while I’m the one being very skeptical of it.Report


          Let’s take at face value that this is real.

          In what sort of society would this be considered anywhere near condoneable behavior or the result of anything like policing?Report

          • I don’t mean to say that they have done no wrong. Quite the contrary. They’ve done all kinds of things I disagree with and think are terrible, even if we assume that it’s right and good to defy an unjust law. Which I do assume.

            Still, Anonymous versus Scientology? It couldn’t have happened to a more deserving outfit.

            Or the work they’ve done exposing civil liberties violations? Often a dirty job, but I’m glad it was done.

            Many of the more destructive actions have been criticized from within the movement, that’s all I meant to say. And I’ll add to it that the problem with evaluating Anonymous as a collective is simply that they are not a collective. They’re a name without an identity.

            I mentioned to Barrett Brown once that Anonymous seemed less like an organization and more like an appealing set of incentives, and as I recall he said he thought that that might have been the best definition of Anonymous he’d ever seen. For what it’s worth.Report

            • Kolohe in reply to Jason Kuznicki says:

              And how did that work out of him?Report

            • Jason covers my reaction to this piece quite well, Nob.Report

            • Shazbot5 in reply to Jason Kuznicki says:

              How is Anon. disanalogous from an eco-terrerist group? I guess Anon. attacks digital targets and eco groups go after machinery and buildings. To keep the analogy clean suppose the eco group attacks in a way that is very unlikely to kill.

              Both groups are using force even though they are no permitted to do so in a just society.

              Do you support non-violent eco-terrorism to the same degree that you support Anon?Report

              • Patrick Cahalan in reply to Shazbot5 says:

                I don’t read Jason’s statement as a support statement.Report

              • Shazbot5 in reply to Patrick Cahalan says:

                Ehhh… this feels like a defense of Anon. as a group.

                Suppose an eco-Terror group called “Captain Power” that has no formal leadership blows up a pipeline. Some of the members take responsibility. Others condemn the attack, but do not go so far as to work as hard as possible to find and punish those who did the attack.

                At that point, the group is responsible, and if you remain part of the group, even though you disagreewith the attack, you are responsible, too.

                I think PETA does good stuff, but I would never join, andI condemn the organization as a whole because the bad stuff they do (non-violent and less bad than Anon., IMO) is something that I don’t want to be associated with. If I join and support PETA, I can’t disassociate from the bad stuff done in their name.

                So too with Anon. If they don’t have a leadership, then they need to police themselves andpeople who claim to act on their behalf, and if they can’t do that, that is almost as bad as having a leadership who approves of the bad stuff.

                So it is true that not all Anon. members are in favor of this behavior, but until they act to push out those that are responsible, they are all guilty of supporting the bad behavior, and if they can’t push out the bad actors, each individual has a responsibility to leave the group.Report

              • Jaybird in reply to Shazbot5 says:

                A better comparison would be “ALF” or “ELF” (the Animal or Earth, respectively, Liberation Fronts). PETA actually has a board with, wouldn’t you know it, centralized membership. (As in: there is a way for someone to say “I am a member” and for someone else to check that out.)

                ALF and ELF are groups with decentralized membership. If you feel like breaking into your local college and freeing all of the bassett hounds they’re testing chemical weapons on? You can do that, write “ALF” on the wall and ALF will be behind the latest bit of ecoterrorism in your town.Report

              • Shazbot5 in reply to Jaybird says:

                Well, if ALF’s membership all comes out against the attack hard, and vows that it will kick out and disavow the people who did it, then ALF isn’t responsible.

                But if AlF members don’t disavow the attack, and a minority support it, then if you remain in ALF, you supported the attack.

                This is the danger of associating with groups that don’t have a leadership voice of any kind.Report

              • Jaybird in reply to Jaybird says:

                Who is ALF, again? Point me to ALF. Would it be someone posting to the internet “ALF wouldn’t do that”? Someone posting “I’m a member of ALF and I disavow the liberation of those dogs!”? Enough people doing that?Report

              • Shazbot5 in reply to Jaybird says:

                As you describe it, ALF is the union of all self-identified ALF members.

                If some AlF members do bad things and you continue to identify as an AlF member, and no action has been taken by the vast majority of ALF members to punish, turn in, identify and shame, or otherwise disavow the bad ALF members, and you don’t leave and disavow ALF, then you are supporting those bad members through inaction.

                This is why you should almost never join a group that has no means for disavowing (through votes at a meeting, or through a leadership structure, etc.) bad actors acting on behalf of the group. This is one reason why ALF as you’ve described it (which I think has a sort of leadership, informally, IMO) is not something you should join or you should be willing to leave it at any time things go sour.Report

              • Jaybird in reply to Jaybird says:

                I don’t know. Is “Occupy Wall Street” a “union” of people?

                It seems to me that “ALF” and “ELF” are pretty similar. All you have to do to join Occupy is show up and hold your sign.Report

              • Shazbot5 in reply to Jaybird says:

                I wouldn’t join Occupy for very different reasons.

                The occupy groups i saw did have counsels and meetings, and votes to determine what each subgroup of Occupy was for. So there were a bunch of little groups.

                I was not in favor of what the occupy group I saw had voted for, so I didn’t join. Ditto the Tea Party groups that I saw.

                I would say Occupy or The Tea Party were names for sets of groups that did have leadership groups. If some member of occupy did something awful in the name of occupy, there was a mechanism in place to sanction or disavow that person or their actions orapprove of them.

                Actually, I’d go so far as to say it is misleading to say that the Tea Part or Occupy were single groups; rather they were sets of related groups that worked together as a supergroup.

                Can Anon. say the same?Report

            • Jason, I’m probably missing something, but it’s hard for me not to read this comment as:

              Violations Against Those I Agree With = Condemnable

              Violations Against Those I Disagree With = Awesome

              I mean, jeez, our own in-house Anonymous guy – the one that waxed so poetically about the need for The People to rise up agains The Machine – ended up being a petty crook who stole from The People to line his own personal pocket.

              For a guy that speaks so passionately about abuse of power, I’m surprised that you’re defending a group of people that live in the shadows and regularly “punish” ordinary citizens they figure out are less powerful than them from a tech standpoint.

              Sometimes even the enemy of your enemy still needs to be your enemy.Report

              • Patrick Cahalan in reply to Tod Kelly says:

                I don’t read it that way at all.

                I read it more as, “we can’t treat Anonymous as a monolithic group, because they’re not” which isn’t particularly objectionable.Report

              • Stillwater in reply to Patrick Cahalan says:

                Patrick, doesn’t that skip right past RTod’s argument tho? Tod is saying that Jason is refraining from condemning particular actions independently of the whether the group is monolithic or not.

                Also, I thought Jason was saying that some of the actions Anonymous are morally laudable – or at least, that there is a moral calculus which justifies them. Which is pretty much what Tod’s objecting to.Report

              • Patrick Cahalan in reply to Stillwater says:

                I think Jason’s talking about actions being the thing that should be lauded or condemned.

                I think everybody else is talking about Anonymous as if it’s tightly coupled, so all of the actions are pretty solidly joined to the group as a whole.

                Since I think that Anonymous isn’t really a “group” at all, in the organizational science way of talking about groups, I think Jason’s more correct than wrong, here.

                It’s not useful to critique Anonymous using the same critiques that you would use for, say, CPAC or PETA or even a governmental organization (although that whole question of “how responsible are you for the actions of your government” is a much closer analogue for Anonymous than any of those smaller organizations).Report

              • Patrick Cahalan in reply to Patrick Cahalan says:

                Also, part of the characteristic of Anonymous group activity makes it pretty much impossible for standard disclaimers to work.

                If you donate money to the NRA, and the NRA does something objectionable, you can stop donating money and write a blog post about why this particular action was wrong or not. Your previous association with the NRA gives you standing to critique them.

                A member of Anonymous can’t really do that. If some other member of Anonymous does something objectionable, all of the corrective measures need to be in-group. None of it will be expressible to the outside world, because by definition we don’t know who’s in Anonymous.

                Note: I’m not saying that this is laudable or condemnable or anything, I’m just noting that this is a consequence of how the group is structured (or, more appropriately in this case, not structured). Like I said above, there’s a reason why I don’t think this is a great organizational structure… this is one reason why. You’ve diluted a lot of your power both internally and your communication power externally by being an organization that isn’t an organization, and that neuters a lot of what you can do, including accurately claim responsibility or deniability.Report

              • Shazbot5 in reply to Patrick Cahalan says:


                You seem to be arguing that Anon. isn’t a group at all, but more of a movement.

                There is a distinction here.

                Libertarianism, for example, is a movement. If one person does something on behalf of libertarians, not all libertarians are responsible.

                But terrorist organizations, even if they are organized by celss without a leadership, are organizations. Each member is responsible for supporting the actions of the group, and if one member acts bacly, staying in thegroup supports their continued bad action.

                Os Anon. just a movement with no coordination or mutual support for actions within the group, as in, say liberalism?

                I’d say very much not, but I don’t know anything about Anon.Report

              • Shazbot5 in reply to Patrick Cahalan says:


                Is AQ a movement or a organized group?

                I’d say the latterReport

              • Shazbot5 in reply to Patrick Cahalan says:


                I think one of the key differences between a movement or ideology and an organization or group is that members of the former hold similar beliefs and aspirations for the future, while the latter share tips, strategies, money, material, resources, and coordinate action to bring about certain goals or disperse certain ideas.

                So liberalism is a movement or ideology, while the Democratic party is a group.

                Anon is a group without a clear leadership or hierarchy, but they are a group.

                One should be very careful about identifying with or joining a leaderless group (or pushing to help form one) for precisely the reason that we see problems like the case of Anon at presentReport

              • Patrick Cahalan in reply to Patrick Cahalan says:

                One should be very careful about identifying with or joining a leaderless group (or pushing to help form one) for precisely the reason that we see problems like the case of Anon at present


                I appreciate the distinction between group and movement, but I don’t know that Anonymous qualifies as either. If it is a group, it’s sufficiently different from groups like the Democratic party that we need to suss out the nature of the group before we can properly set expectations, is all.Report

              • Michael Drew in reply to Patrick Cahalan says:

                If anyone can take an action that immediately becomes an action of Anonymous because the person says it is, then at any time anyone can take the action of harshly condemning a particular action of Anonymous, or indeed, the entire enterprise of Anonymous or its aims, say that action is an action of Anonymous, and thereby cause the group to self-police. Except if, say, John Brennan did that, I think we’d suddenly find out that there are in fact people who are actually “members” of Anonymous who, it turns out, retained the ability to say who’s part of the group and who’s not, all along – and that that there are definitely people who, whatever they say, are not members of Anonymous. Same for ELF and ALF and Organize. And rather quickly, I think we could find out roughly who the group is and how much support there is inside it for various of its actions.

                I think it’s a convenient to say that these groups don’t consist of a fairly definable membership and organizing ideology. Perhaps in some cases it’s true. But in practice, my hunch is that they tend to so consist.Report

              • Kimmi in reply to Patrick Cahalan says:

                yeah, of course anon has a membership, if not an actual list.
                Still, getting anonymous to do things is akin to herding cats.Report

              • Boy, I disagree strongly.

                Part of the reason we condemn shadow governments (especially here) is because if you set up a shadow government that has no accountability and give it enough extra-constitutional power, those that set it up might have been nice, well-meaning people that only meant the best for everyone – but they should have known that eventually it would be used for questionable and even evil purposes.

                For me, Anonymous is no different.

                If you set up a shadow watchdog community, make it accountable to no one, recruit men of a certain age and disposition and encourage them to go out and find those on the internet that they are more powerful than from a tech standpoint and make their lives miserable, I don’t really care what your original intentions were.

                I get that it may have never occurred to you that subsets of these young men would use the system to do things like criminally harass young women for sport, but it should have. I get that you might have thought that your magical chatroom charm would have been sufficient to talk young men into only hacking and harassing for Good and never Evil, but you shouldn’t have.

                Setting up a faceless group of people anywhere that have the ability to inflict harm on people without fear of consequence will always – always – lead to perversion. That those that set the system up and keep it running don’t get that doesn’t excuse themReport

              • Patrick Cahalan in reply to Tod Kelly says:

                I don’t disagree with any of this, Tod. I’m probably not making myself clear.

                I’ll mull it over and see if I can say something intelligent later.Report

              • RTod in reply to Patrick Cahalan says:

                I should probably say that when I used the word “you” in that little rant, I had not intended the “you” to be either you or Jason, obviously.Report

              • Patrick Cahalan in reply to Patrick Cahalan says:

                I got that, don’t worry.

                A proper response, I don’t know if I can get it squared away on Easter weekend.Report

              • Kimmi in reply to Tod Kelly says:

                First World Morals for First World Problems.Report

    • Also, I think it’s the general idea of modern anarchists which are exemplified by their former spokesman Barrett Brown, right? It’s a strength and power in numbers and anonymity thing. It’s more an underworld “I have power because you can’t stop me” rather than actually wanting to undo an unjust social structure.

      That is, the only injustice they seem to see is that they’re not the ones calling the shots.Report

      • Morzer in reply to Nob Akimoto says:

        I am not an anarchist, or a libertarian, but I have heard of cases where “spokesmen” for causes were self-appointed and represented very few people beyond themselves.

        Lovely full-on foaming at the mouth rant, Akimoto-san, but just a bit lacking in facts and argument, while prone to over-generalized outrage.

        Maybe you and Anonymous have more in common than either of you believes?Report

      • Shazbot5 in reply to Nob Akimoto says:

        If Anon is such a group, then all the members have a duty to condemn the statements of the few members who claim to be speaking for the group, and to do so publically. They have not.

        Hardly a defense.Report

        • Morzer in reply to Shazbot5 says:

          Maybe they take a different view of their duties, Shazbot. Who are you to strut along self-righteously judging others when you refuse to join any and all groups that don’t exactly agree with whatever your personal agenda might be?Report

      • Stillwater in reply to Nob Akimoto says:

        That is, the only injustice they seem to see is that they’re not the ones calling the shots.

        Is the underlying principle here fully general, in your view? Is it true that every time a person sees and acts on a perceived injustice they’re really just expressing their desire to call the shots?Report

  2. James K says:

    Of course Guy Fawkes himself would probably be ashamed by these atheistic wretches using his likeness. Their hiding behind anonymity and fighting for the oppressed privileged young men most of them are.

    I’m not so sure he’d be disgusted by their anonymity. After all he hardly walked up to Parliament and declared his intention to blow it up, now did he? And why didn’t he? Because they’d have clapped him in irons and hanged him. Fawkes wasn’t trying to martyr himself, he was trying to blow up Parliament, and he realised stealth was a prudent strategy. That Anonymous hides their identities speaks well of their prudence, not ill of their courage.

    Now, that most of the aren’t Catholic? That would probably disgust him.

    I don’t mean that as an endorsement of their agenda generally (I’m not sure they can be said to have an agenda per se), but if there is criticism to be had of them it’s in their goals and the specifics of their tactics. The fact they hide their faces means simply that they’re smart.Report

  3. DRS says:

    Modern anarchists have the best of all worlds in the 21st century: they do not face totalitarian governments with a guarantee of the death penalty and they do deal with a novelty-based, sensationalist media (and I’m not talking just about the Fourth Estate here) that has instant global access. They can make threats that are taken seriously while risking nothing. In fact, with the Internet, they can make just one actual threat and have it taken seriously for years.

    It’s the ultimate victory: they’ve entered the never-ending world of unreality.Report

  4. BlaiseP says:

    Huh? Bakunin’s entire ethos was based on an invisible dictatorship and what for all purposes was a government by secret police. Marx understood Bakunin well enough to expel him from the International. Had Bakunin met up with Anonymous, he would have viewed them with contempt for their much-talking but he would have entirely approved of their anonymity. Writing to Nechaev:

    But, you will ask, if we are anarchists, by what right do we want to influence the people, and what methods will we use? Denouncing all power, with what sort of power, or rather by what sort of force, shall we direct a people’s revolution? By a force that is invisible, that no one admits and that is not imposed on anyone, by the collective dictatorship of our organization which will be all the greater the more it remains unseen and undeclared, the more it is deprived of all official rights and significance…[Secret organizations] would finally have the strength of that close solidarity which binds isolated groups in one organic whole.Report

    • Morzer in reply to BlaiseP says:

      And Nechaev was hardly a fluffy little bunny himself:

      “A revolutionary is a doomed man. He has no private interests, no affairs, sentiments, ties, property nor even a name of his own. His entire being is devoured by one purpose, one thought, one passion – the revolution. Heart and soul, not merely by word but by deed, he has severed every link with the social order and with the entire civilized world; with the laws, good manners, conventions, and morality of that world. He is its merciless enemy and continues to inhabit it with only one purpose – to destroy it.”

      A revolutionary “….must infiltrate all social formations including the police. He must exploit rich and influential people, subordinating them to himself. He must aggravate the miseries of the common people, so as to exhaust their patience and incite them to rebel. And, finally, he must ally himself with the savage word of the violent criminal, the only true revolutionary in Russia.”

      Such are his musings in “Catechism of a Revolutionary”.Report

      • BlaiseP in reply to Morzer says:

        Gustave le Bon

        As soon as a certain number of living beings are gathered together, whether they be animals or men, they place themselves instinctively under the authority of a chief.

        In the case of human crowds the chief is often nothing more than a ringleader or agitator, but as such he plays a considerable part. His will is the nucleus around which the opinions of the crowd are grouped and attain to identity. He constitutes the first element towards the organization of heterogeneous crowds, and paves the way for their organization in sects; in the meantime he directs them. A crowd is a servile flock that is incapable of ever doing without a master.

        The leader has most often started as one of the led. He has himself been hypnotised by the idea, whose apostle he has since become. It has taken possession of him to such a degree that everything outside it vanishes, and that every contrary opinion appears to him an error or a superstition. An example in point is Robespierre, hypnotised by the philosophical ideas of Rousseau, and employing the methods of the Inquisition to propagate them.

        The leaders we speak of are more frequently men of action than thinkers. They are not gifted with keen foresight, nor could they be, as this quality generally conduces to doubt and inactivity.

        They are especially recruited from the ranks of those morbidly nervous, excitable, half-deranged persons who are bordering on madness. However absurd may be the idea they uphold or the goal they pursue, their convictions are so strong that all reasoning is lost upon them. Contempt and persecution do not affect them, or only serve to excite them the more. They sacrifice their personal interest, their family — everything. The very instinct of self-preservation is entirely obliterated in them, and so much so that often the only recompense they solicit is that of martyrdom. The intensity of their faith gives great power of suggestion to their words. The multitude is always ready to listen to the strong-willed man, who knows how to impose himself upon it. Men gathered in a crowd lose all force of will, and turn instinctively to the person who possesses the quality they lack.

        Nations have never lacked leaders, but all of the latter have by no means been animated by those strong convictions proper to apostles. These leaders are often subtle rhetoricians, seeking only their own personal interest, and endeavouring to persuade by flattering base instincts. The influence they can assert in this manner may be very great, but it is always ephemeral. The men of ardent convictions who have stirred the soul of crowds, the Peter the Hermits, the Luthers, the Savonarolas, the men of the French Revolution, have only exercised their fascination after having been themselves fascinated first of all by a creed.

        They are then able to call up in the souls of their fellows that formidable force known as faith, which renders a man the absolute slave of his dream.Report

    • LeeEsq in reply to BlaiseP says:

      I thought that the Anarchists were expelled from the International because the Communists thought that anarchism was too religious as a philosophy while Marxism was more scientific?Report

      • BlaiseP in reply to LeeEsq says:

        As I understand it, Bakunin was recruiting in the International for his own secret organisation. Marx wouldn’t tolerate it. Marx understood the State would have to be coopted, not overthrown entirely, based on the failure of the French Revolution and the tyranny which arose from it, culminating in the return of the Bourbons.

        Marx was not about to allow another Robespierre to screw up his plans. But that’s exactly what happened anyway. With the death of Lenin and the downfall of Trotsky, Communism fell into the abyss anyway, as Bakunin had predicted.Report

  5. dhex says:

    i realize you’re heated up about this but i think you’ve gone off the rails a bit with the headline. there’s a bunch of food not bombs hippies you’ve just slandered for no good reason, and for reasons that escape my tiny mind, get them lumped in with white nationalists, mra dinks, and racists in your third to last paragraph.

    there’s also the bit where you compare ddos attacks unfavorably to people of history blowing up other people of history.Report

  6. GordonHide says:

    Well, you might have started by telling us what you think anarchism actually is rather than a long list of things it has always been against. Your piece is without merit. You appear to have assigned the word “anarchist” to a few internet bloggers whose modus operandi you don’t like and then heaved a few insults in their direction.Report

  7. KatherineMW says:

    I don’t see groups like Anonymous as anarchist at all. They don’t appear to have any political philosophy. The main things they’ve grouped together on are “Scientology is bad” and “the government shouldn’t have complete control over the Internet”.

    Moreover, many of those “noble” anarchists of the 19th and early 20th century were no more than thugs and bandits, taking advantage of a real state of anarchy – the Russian Civil War – to rob, loot, and terrorize villages for their own profit. There’s statues of some of those same anarchist “heroes” in Paris. My grandma’s been in the process of translating some of my great-grandma’s diaries; great-grandma lived in what’s now the Ukraine during those days, and I have heard from my family that there’s a fair bit in there about what those anarchist heroes were like.Report

    • Kimmi in reply to KatherineMW says:

      Those were Kozzacks, most likely. And I wouldn’t describe those “freedom fighters” in the same breath as the Russian Anarchists, who were primarily Jewish.Report

  8. NewDealer says:

    1. I never understood why Guy Fawkes was considered to be someone to emulate or look up to. I suppose it is mainly from Alan Moore’s V for Vendetta but the real Guy Fawkes is not my version of sanity. Still it is hardly a sign of maturity or deep political thought to me. You are right that it is very adolescent.

    2. That being said, I think anonymous is all over the map and I have no way to prove or disprove how many of them are middle class and above white men. IIRC a big guy in Anonymous was arrested a while ago and he lived in the NYC housing projects and was far from middle class.

    I’ve also seen reports of some Anonymous people being right-wing conservative but I can’t find those right now.

    All this being said. I agree with you. Anonymous always struck me as being the worst aspect of mob justice on the Internet and claiming themselves to be the true voice of what is right and wrong, moral clarity, and other issues.

    They do some good like uncovering the tweets of Stubtenville defendants but this is a broken clock kind of good. They are also cowards sometimes and back way from really horrible people like the Mexican drug cartels.

    • Kimmi in reply to NewDealer says:

      1) Perhaps someone just had some masks lying around? That by a happy coincidence caused the Scientologists to turn more batshit insane than they already were?

      2) I’d venture a guess that they’re mostly bored kids, trying to act cool. I mean, really, they’re trolls! I’m certain some of them are dangerous…

      3) These are people high on the whole freedom of speech thing. I don’t think right-wing conservative is the right way to describe them. Folks like them found Obama “fascinating.” Of course, they also seem prone to acting like … neanderthals (yes, I’m technically incorrect here).Report

  9. dino says:

    These anarchists sure aren’t anonymous and would surely beg to differ with your assertions regarding so-called “vile cowardice”.

  10. LeeEsq says:

    Anonymous is just a sign of the negative sides of the internet. For all its wonders, the internet also gives a lot of petty and not so petty power to people who really shouldn’t have it. People use it to bully and shame. We seem to have reinvented the pillory for the twenty-first except this time every community gets to put the non-ideologially correct into it. We really need to a golden rule for the internet, “whatever would be hateful to you in real life, do not do to others on the internet.”Report

    • BlaiseP in reply to LeeEsq says:

      Real life? This is real enough. If people are hateful here where they only pretend to be nice in the real world, they are the same people. The older I get, the less tolerance I have for the pretence and the subtle, ongoing lies we tell ourselves and each other. The fake smiles, the false congratulations, the monumental façade of deceit we have erected around ourselves lest anyone know our true feelings. The disgusting aspect of all this falsity is that we’ve come to believe that online is fake and up-close-‘n personal is real. If we were at least as forthright in person, if we weren’t burdened by this weight of falsity, we’d doubtless see a lot less dumping and Flaming Id Syndrome out here.Report

      • Morzer in reply to BlaiseP says:

        Here, here! And hear, hear too!Report

      • James K in reply to BlaiseP says:

        I agree. I have trouble reading people and the pretence make it really difficult to figure out what people actually think. If someone has a problem with me, I want to know. I may or may not do anything about it depending on the specific grievance, but if someone doesn’t tell em I’m not going to figure it out on my own.Report

  11. James Vonder Haar says:

    Wouldn’t the world have been a better place if Bakunin had escaped capture and didn’t suffer from the effects of his imprisonment as time went on?

    You can criticize Anonymous for a lot of reasons, but doing so because they’re not suffering enough for their art is perverse.Report

    • My general point wasn’t that they’re not suffering enough, but that far too often they reserve their activities as a means of coercing people who have less power than them.

      It was meant to be that by using the cover of anonymity and mass, mob behavior they were more akin to the London Mobbe that came to watch and jeer as Fawkes was hanged than any of the figures who were (mistakenly or not) moved to act against the state. That’s all.Report

  12. Kimmi says:

    1) Freedom of speech has always been an Anonymous thing. Do I kinda think that they’re going a bit overboard here? Yeah… but… For a group that uses “nigger please” as a catchphrase, I’m not surprised that their response isn’t a “Lighten Up”. They’re trolls, dude.

    2) You know very little about the group you’re talking about. In terms of freedom of speech, at least a couple of them have active warrants out for their arrest (Look at Encyclopedia Dramatica). You know, by actual First World governments (Australia’s remarkably easy to piss off.)

    3) Why are we talking about trolls, anyhow??Report