Thursday, September 30, 2010

The Man Who Led Me Back Toward Christ

Charlotte Alston on the giant whose tome, The Kingdom of God Is Within You, I stumbled upon at the 1988 Anarchist Survival Gathering in Toronto, after which I was never quite the same — Tolstoy's Guiding Light:
    The philosophy that became known as ‘Tolstoyism’ was outlined in the body of work the writer produced from the late 1870s onwards. It was essentially a form of Christian anarchism based on the doctrine of non-resistance. Tolstoy rejected the state (because it could only exist on the basis of physical force) and all institutions derived from it: the police, law courts, the army and the Russian Orthodox Church. He condemned private property and money and advocated living by one’s own physical labour. He also came to believe in vegetarianism, complete chastity and abstinence from tobacco and alcohol.
The last two sentences may be taking things a bit too far, and if the state "could only exist on the basis of physical force," it is due to our fallen nature; I can imagine a participatory New England-style minarchical state in which "the police, law courts, [and] the army" are representative. Furthermore Catholicism, transcending the nation-state in a way that Eastern Orthodoxy does not, allows for the Anarcho-Catholicism of Servant of God Dorothy Day.

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Omnes Sancti et Sanctæ Coreæ, orate pro nobis.