I realized how badly I want to see the world and, more importantly, the Church become anarchist. The more I talk of anarchism with people, the more they tend to nod in agreement. Hierarchies are bad. Nevertheless, we all have been so indoctrinated into the hierarchical ordering of life that it is difficult to really question power in a truly constructive way. Coming to anarchism, for me, took a long time. In a way I never “became” an anarchist in the sense that no one made a sustained argument that convinced me anarchism was the way we should order our lives. Rather, I committed myself to certain principles, and in the end, when I no longer knew just what those principles meant, I found a name to my beliefs: anarchy. I believe many people secretly long to be anarchists or secretly are anarchists. They simply do not know it. I constantly subject myself to a state of self-evaluation, and I never fear to say what I think. Many fear the self-expression of controversial political beliefs immensely. The point of this post is to elaborate on the unique experiences and principles that I embraced in order to get to where I am. People may then compare their own experiences and principles to mine, evaluate themselves, and, in finding someone with like mind, remove the fear of owning anarchism for themselves. Allowing people to hear and respond is the key to anarchism. I will never tell anyone that they should be an anarchist, but I will always make myself vulnerable so that others may join me as an equal, without hierarchy.
My Life As A Conservative
In the 10th grade, we took a ten question quiz to determine where we stood on the political spectrum. My score came out 9 out of 10 on the side of “Reagan Republican”. I remember being proud of my score. At the time, I very easily identified Republicans with patriotism. The Republicans truly loved America (sic) and so did I. I can hardly blame myself for this. From 1st grade to 6th grade my private elementary school said 3 pledges of allegiance: one to the stars and stripes, one to the “Christian” flag, and one to the Bible in that order. For a school pageant in the 4th grade we sang the four hymns of the Army, the Navy, the Air Force, and the Marines. G-d and American (sic) values were conflated from a very early age. Every single year of my life until the 12th grade I took at least one U.S. History or government class. Finally, a week before my 14th birthday the World Trade Center Towers in New York City collapsed. Young people deeply desire to be a part of something bigger than themselves. In the patriotic fervor that ensued that tragedy, I thought I had found it.
In the midst of all that patriotism, I grew up hearing a different tale. At the age of eight, our 2nd grade class memorized the Beatitudes. My family and I attended church every Sunday. Even though patriots populated my church, I still heard the enunciation over and over again: G-d reigns. Many would even go so far as to say that G-d is above the President and the military! G-d controlled the world. Nothing outmatched G-d. Quite naturally, I became befuddled in my youth. As I pledged allegiance to both flag and G-d, I began to blend them. If G-d stood in control over the powers, then the powers must be doing what G-d wants. What G-d wants is “liberty and justice for all”. Since the U.S. promotes liberty and justice for all, they must be the nation living out G-d’s will. This all made perfect sense to me. Little was I aware that the two scripts, the U.S. and G-d, were raging inside of me, and one would eventually win out.