Inherent Goodness?

Posted on July 12, 2011


When people hear an anarchist say they believe that humans are inherently good, it leads them to imagine utpoian ideals. They think we are saying that humans are naturally saints, or perfect. It’s quite the contrary.

Some people are just assholes and that is an unavoidable fact. Some people are selfish jerks regardless of their environment. I have seen people be helped by the most compassionate of people, put in the most peaceful of environments and still treat others with an unkind hostility.

What we DO in fact mean by this is that people are not naturally “evil”. No one is inherently evil, and no one is entirely evil. No one is entirely anything. What we are saying by inherent goodness is that no one comes out of the womb ready to kill and steal and rape and lie.

No living creature on this planet is naturally destructive and evil as humans have become. We are simply saying that the things in this world that we perceive as evil and destructive, are entirely of human creation and are not natural. Humans have created these evil things under the veils of freedom and peace and equality but it has become clear, as these things have developed over time, that they are not so.

Anarchists are not utopian. We don’t have some naive belief that all people are born to be angels or perfect or compassionate. But we are saying that they are not born to be destructive, selfish murderers. People are all different, and yes, some of them are just not as nice as others. But if you give any person a gun and tell them to shoot a stranger, unless they have been taught otherwise, they will not. It will go against all of their rational thought and reasoning.

Yet, this mentality is the basis behind war. Teach people that killing strangers is OK. Ask anyone who has been to boot camp. You are taught to think of those strangers as evil when, in fact, they are not. One has to LEARN these kinds of destructive habits based on half truths, straight lies, or manipulation.

Differences are inevitable, therefore disagreement is inevitable. But if we can teach young men and women that killing is OK, or that racism is OK, or that sexism is OK, then we can damn sure teach them that it’s not. A human mind has to be altered from its original state by lies and manipulation to believe these sort of things are in any way justifiable. But that is not to say that that natural mind is a perfect thing. It is just much more preferable to the distorted, manipulated minds produced by education today.