Once upon a time, I was a dedicated anarchist. I did much independent research on the cause to make sure it was a decent fit for my beliefs, and, for the most part, anarchy matched up well with my personal reality tunnel. Then I made the mistake of reading recent writings by anarchists, particularly in Anarchy magazine. Some of it was very good stuff: I felt it was important to read about recent books on the topic, general history of the movement, and news updates covering everything from demonstrations to government crackdowns. I read the magazine for a couple of years before finally giving up on them in disgust.

First, they devoted far too much space to pedantic arguments about obscure anarchist terms that I didn't understand. While that may be fun for long-time anarchists, it bored me to tears and surely scared off potential anarchists. Wouldn't a short review of general anarchist philosophies for the benefit of newbies help swell the anarchism ranks?

Second, they spent too much time beating up on both the newbies and the old-timers. Sure, a bunch of the newbies had no real idea what anarchism was about and were just supporting the cause to shock their parents, but the authors and editors were often fairly vicious in their vilification of new anarchists. And their treatment of the old-school anarchists was far worse. Some was justified--they jumped on an old-timer who had just written a self-congratulatory autobiography that denounced everyone else in the movement--but they also ridiculed a respected anarchist solely because he was active in the 1970s.

Next, the magazine started a pro-Unabomber campaign, claiming that, as a bomb-throwing liberal eco-anarchist, he was a model we should all emulate. The fact that the only people he targeted were college professors and aviation engineers--not the Army, not the CIA, not Congress--apparently meant nothing.

The final blow was when the editor started claiming that anarchists should start working with right-wing fringe militia groups. Hello? Last I heard, the militias wanted to destroy the federal government and replace it with their own preferred form of government--in no way does that translate to anarchy.

So I gave up on them. If a worthwhile anarchist movement ever pops its head up, I'd go for it; otherwise, I think I'd prefer to remain outside the political system.