I can't stand Anarcho-Primitivism

Leftist infighting isn’t something I’m generally a fan of. Capitalism, being the dominant economic system, is a hard enough system to overthrow without unity amongst leftists. There are specific groups of leftists whom I am in no way willing to work with, however. The first group being the class reductionists who believe that all the social issues in the world will be solved by overthrowing capitalism and as such we should ignore issues like trans-rights, systemic racism and homophobia because they act as a distraction preventing leftists from fighting capitalism. The other group of people are anarcho-primitivists.

Anarcho-primitivism is a political movement that advocates for hunting and gathering as the ideal form of human organisation. Alongside the traditional critique of capitalism and the state found in anarchist-socialist groups AnPrims view civilisation and industrialisation as the root causes of environmental and social ills. It is not uncommon for AnPrims to call for either the abandonment and destruction of industrial technology. The Unabomber Ted Kaczynski was himself an AnPrim and this was the primary motivation for his 17-year long bombing campaign during which he targeted people involved with technology such as a computer science professor at Yale.

Generally speaking, anarcho-primitivists believe that in a primitive society people would be more satisfied and suffer less stress and that such a society would be more peaceful and less oppressive. There is some reason to believe these points may not be entirely incorrect. There is significant archaeological evidence for example that war and violence between nomadic tribes in early human history were either non-existent or significantly lower than rates after humans began to settle down alongside that there is a fair amount of evidence to suggest that it was our settling down into proto-states that lead to the development of STIs, many of the diseases which originated in animals and traditional gender roles and sex-based oppression.

My problem with anarcho-primitivism is that it condemns many to death for the sake of its “less oppressive” world. Any person who relies on post-industrial medicine for their continued existence has no chance of surviving in a primitive society. Diabetic patients would not be able to get access to the insulin which they need for their continued survival. Anyone who needs access to surgical procedures or therapies which just would not be accessible in a primitivist society would be deprived of a comfortable life for no good reason. In essence, anarcho-primitivism becomes a social Darwinist’s wet dream where those who need medical assistance of some description just suffer and die because the infrastructure required to provide for their needs have either been destroyed or are not used by society. I cannot stress how much this disgusts me enough the whole concept borders on a sort of hands-off eugenics where no one is actively murdered by the community but they are indirectly prevented from living. This to me is a complete betrayal of the ideals of leftism which is supposed to be about improving quality of life, protecting minority groups and promoting freedom. None of which are improved upon by anarcho-primitivism.

If you bring this up to an anarcho-primitivist you’ll be met with one of the most frustrating non-answers I’ve ever come across from a leftist. The reply will be something like in anarcho-primitivist society diabetes and other diseases either won’t exist or will occur in much fewer amounts. To focus on diabetes for a moment while cases of diabetes could be lower in primitive society the factors that lead to diabetes development can be genetic or environmental and for this point to be reasonable there would have to be no cases of diabetes in the pre-industrial age and given that diabetes is thought to have been first described in about 1550 BC the evidence does not appear to support this. To move on to the idea that diabetes may be less common in a primitivist society, this may be true, however, you are still condemning every single person who develops diabetes in this society to a very unpleasant life and death and this is not something that I believe is justifiable in the slightest.

The other problem with this view is that even if a primitivist society would no longer have the diseases and conditions which would need care or treatment using advanced medical technologies the people who currently have those conditions would not disappear off the planet during the transition to anarcho-primitivism and I do not see how a society could in anyway transition to a primitivist structure while also retaining the industrial infrastructure required to care for people.

AnPrims may resort to the claim that not everyone has to live in a primitive society and because they are anarchists they do not want to force it upon people. While this initially sounds like a reasonable response however anarchism as a philosophy is founded upon the idea of free association the idea that whatever the organisational unit of an anarchist society people be it a commune or a union or a nomadic tribe people are free to join or leave at their will. An AnPrim society categorically refuses to support anyone who needs industrial processes to live a condition no one who needs those processes to live can reasonably consider free to join. Finally, even if this point did stand up if you’re an anarcho-primitivist you must want other people to live in that kind of society and I can’t imagine being comfortable advocating for a society where people like diabetics are condemned to death.

Ultimately anarcho-primitivism has to disregard the lives of anyone who’s ability to live relies on advanced medical technology and pretty much anything that was invented since the industrial revolution. On the way to forming any primitivist society, these people would be condemned to suffer if not die and anyone born after it has been established would meet a similar end. While the primitivists may not actively kill them they would merely watch these people suffer without raising a hand to stop it. All for a goal that may not even be possible but regardless if it were the suffering it would cause is unacceptable and should not be acceptable to anyone who cares about the suffering of others. Anarcho-primitivism is structurally and ideologically deeply ableist and how anyone can support it while claiming to be a leftist deeply confuses and angers me.

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