On the latest post on the blog The Pinocchio Theory, Steven Shaviro (theorist/philosopher/critic) makes an excellent point. That point is at the core of the post, which, by way of a book review, Peter Ward's The Medea Hypothesis, questions "the widespread contemporary belief in 'self-organization,'"—the self-assembly of little interacting parts into a complex or emergent property. Self-organization can be biological or social or political. And in the political realm, it is a state or creative condition that is worshiped as much by those on the right as those on the left. Shaviro writes: "The anarchist left puts its faith in self-organizing movements of dissidence and protest, with the (non-)goal being a spontaneously self-organized cooperative society. Right wing libertarians, meanwhile, see the “free market” as the realm of emergent, spontaneous, self-organized solutions to all problems..." Shaviro is right to sense that something is wrong when the "grounding assumptions" of "the anti-WTO protestors in Seattle a decade ago... were as deeply Hayekian as those of any broker for Goldman Sachs..."
The core of Shaviro's post:
I just want to suggest that it is high time to question our basic, almost automatic, assumptions about the virtues of self-organization. This doesn’t mean returning to an old-fashioned rationalism or voluntarism, and it doesn’t mean ignoring the fact that our actions always tend to propagate through complex networks, and therefore to have massive unintended consequences. But we need to give up the moralistic conviction that somehow self-organized outcomes are superior to ones arrived at by other means. We need to give up our superstitious reverence for results that seem to happen “by themselves,” or to arrive “from below” rather than “from above.” (Aren’t there other directions to work and think in, besides “below” and “above”?).
The meeting point of the right and left in the area of self-organization is connected to another point that the two parties meet: in the area that sees weak or nonexistent state power as the solution to social problems. Unlike self-organization, the state has no lovers in the radical right or the radical left.