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  #1  
Old 09-26-2001, 02:36 PM
tsunamisurfer tsunamisurfer is offline
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I thought the two were essentially the same, but a young, strident college student at a party recently very clearly told me that she was a nihilist, not an anarchist.

What's the difference?
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  #2  
Old 09-26-2001, 02:49 PM
Larry Mudd Larry Mudd is offline
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In philosophy, nihilism is the view that objective truth does not exist.

In politics, nihilism is the position that society has degenerated so far that "fine-tuning" it is impossible, and the only sensible thing to do is to destroy everything and see what happens naturally.

Anarchists don't necessarily advocate destroying everything-- They'd be happy enough if the government would just close up shop and go home.
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  #3  
Old 09-26-2001, 02:52 PM
JSA JSA is offline
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<wag>nothing</wag>
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  #4  
Old 09-26-2001, 03:00 PM
Larry Mudd Larry Mudd is offline
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BTW -- Nihilists are a real bummer at parties.

"It doesn't matter if you're listening to acid-house or Back Street Boys -- It's all equally meaningless. We're born, we live, we die. All for nothing. Nothing that mankind has ever created is any more significant than this bowl of stale Cheez-Doodles."

Oh, god. Who let JSA in here? Bloody nihilists.
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  #5  
Old 09-26-2001, 03:09 PM
Ethilrist Ethilrist is online now
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Anarchists believe you need to rebel against authority.
Nihilists believe authority doesn't exist, or if it does exist it isn't important.
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  #6  
Old 09-26-2001, 03:32 PM
Cisco Cisco is offline
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Quote:
Originally posted by Ethilrist
Anarchists believe you need to rebel against authority.
Well, in a word, no. But I'm kind of pressed for time so I'll make this short. Anarchy, according to Merriam-Webster, is a utopian society of individuals who enjoy complete freedom without government. One of the synonyms for Nihilism, on the other hand, is terrorism. You tell me the difference.
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  #7  
Old 09-26-2001, 04:12 PM
tsunamisurfer tsunamisurfer is offline
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Quote:
Originally posted by Larry Mudd
BTW -- Nihilists are a real bummer at parties.
Admittedly, the young lady I met at the party didn't have the most scintillating personality, but she had interesting ideas, a great command of French, and looked great in a clingy t-shirt.
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  #8  
Old 09-26-2001, 05:27 PM
Larry Mudd Larry Mudd is offline
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"So... a nihilist eh? Does that mean it really doesn't make the slightest difference to you whether we spend the next four hours at this house party or go back to my place and get naked?" Mwahaha.
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  #9  
Old 09-26-2001, 05:30 PM
Muffin Muffin is offline
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A nihilist is an anarchist with foresight.
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  #10  
Old 09-26-2001, 05:47 PM
Sofa King Sofa King is offline
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Walter ignores the Dude, addresses the Germans:

WALTER: There's no ransom if you don't have a f*&*ng hostage. That's what ransom is. Those are the f)($@ng rules.

DIETER: Zere ARE no ROOLZ!

WALTER: NO RULES! YOU CABBAGE-EATING SONS-OF- BITCHES--

KIEFFER: His girlfriend gafe up her toe! She sought we'd be getting million dollars! Iss not fair!

WALTER: Fair! WHO'S THE F*^#@NG NIHILIST HERE! WHAT ARE YOU, A BUNCH OF F+*!$#NG CRYBABIES?!
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  #11  
Old 09-26-2001, 06:06 PM
cmburns cmburns is offline
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My understanding is that the similarity is not in shared beliefs, but in what they oppose. Anarchists are opposed to government, organized religion, and other authoritative structures because they believe that no one should have control over anyone else. Nihilists are opposed to many of the same things, because they believe all values are meaningless, therefore any value-based structure must be meaningless, and the authority of those structures meaningless.

A radical militant nihilist might feel that all of society is baseless and should be torn down, while a radical militant anarchist might feel that all of society is totalitarian and should be torn down. No difference in the goals, but different reasoning.
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  #12  
Old 09-26-2001, 06:13 PM
AHunter3 AHunter3 is offline
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Anarchists have strong beliefs, they just aren't the beliefs on which conventional hierarchical systems of authority are based.

Nihilists deny the validify of ALL systems, those that exist and those that theoretically COULD exist. To a nihilist, it makes NO DIFFERENCE whether you are governed by a representative democracy, a totalitarian theocracy, a local gang of thugs, or no one at all.

Nihilists tend to believe that in the absence of order being imposed, you'd have chaos, which is what the believers in imposed order believe. But they also tend to believe that all imposed order is meaningless and in no measure an improvement on chaos.

Anarchists are unique among the three in believing that order can emerge without being imposed, which means that nihilists and archists have more in common in at least some ways than either do with anarchists.
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  #13  
Old 09-26-2001, 06:14 PM
Derleth Derleth is offline
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Quote:
Originally posted by Sofa King
Walter ignores the Dude, addresses the Germans:

WALTER: There's no ransom if you don't have a f*&*ng hostage. That's what ransom is. Those are the f)($@ng rules.

DIETER: Zere ARE no ROOLZ!

WALTER: NO RULES! YOU CABBAGE-EATING SONS-OF- BITCHES--

KIEFFER: His girlfriend gafe up her toe! She sought we'd be getting million dollars! Iss not fair!

WALTER: Fair! WHO'S THE F*^#@NG NIHILIST HERE! WHAT ARE YOU, A BUNCH OF F+*!$#NG CRYBABIES?!
"Say what you will about National Socialism, at least that's an ethos."
-Walter, on Nihilism, to the Dude.

The Big Lebowski is a hilarious movie only tangentally related to this thread.

I'm thinking about creating a Society for Constructive Nihilism, but I guess it doesn't really matter...

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  #14  
Old 09-26-2001, 07:13 PM
xicanorex xicanorex is offline
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Though to some "nihilism" and "anarchism" may mean the same thing, there are differences.

First of all, more a traditional definition based on Webster's:

Nihilism:

"Etymology: German Nihilismus, from Latin nihil nothing -- more at NIL
Date: circa 1817
1 a : a viewpoint that traditional values and beliefs are unfounded and that existence is senseless and useless b : a doctrine that denies any objective ground of truth and especially of moral truths
2 a (1) : a doctrine or belief that conditions in the social organization are so bad as to make destruction desirable for its own sake independent of any constructive program or possibility (2) capitalized : the program of a 19th century Russian party advocating revolutionary reform and using terrorism and assassination b : TERRORISM"

VS.

Anarchism:

"Date: 1642
1 : a political theory holding all forms of governmental authority to be unnecessary and undesirable and advocating a society based on voluntary cooperation and free association of individuals and groups
2 : the advocacy or practice of anarchistic principles"

and

Anarchy:

"Etymology: Medieval Latin anarchia, from Greek, from anarchos having no ruler, from an- + archos ruler -- more at ARCH-
Date: 1539
1 a : absence of government b : a state of lawlessness or political disorder due to the absence of governmental authority c : a utopian society of individuals who enjoy complete freedom without government
2 a : absence or denial of any authority or established order b : absence of order : DISORDER <not manicured plots but a wild anarchy of nature -- Israel Shenker>"

Quote:
Originally posted by tsunamisurfer
I thought the two were essentially the same, but a young, strident college student at a party recently very clearly told me that she was a nihilist, not an anarchist.
What's the difference?
Though I guess an anarchist could also be an nihilist, there are points of disagreement(I am simplifying here)that make both exclusive of each other: For an anarchist, humanity is born free and is capable of making moral and rational choices w/o oppressive or coersive "State". Humanity can form a community of free individuals. The use of violence by anarchists in order to overthrow the State is debatable as there are pacifist anarchists and those whose advocate use of "Direct Action" or "revolutionary warfare". For nihilist everything is meaningless even anarchism. E-V-E-R-Y-T-H-I-N-G. Nothing matters. In such philosphy one could not even have an ideal anarchist community for in order to do so you would need a set of anarchist mores, morals, and ethical behavior. Such things are meaningless to a nihilist. Totally incompatible. Still, like I said, there are some anarchists who find compatability between both terms.

For an interesting fictional work on nihilism, check out Dostoevsky's "The Devils." http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/AS...605509-8522165

For supposedly nihilist websites:
http://members.aol.com/nihilist01/corner.html
http://hometown.aol.com/geinster/nilB.html


Quote:
Admittedly, the young lady I met at the party didn't have the most scintillating personality, but she ...looked great in a clingy t-shirt.
Good! So you could have had meaningless nookie in French subtitles. That doesn't sound too shabby!

XicanoreX

P.S.

No, I ain't an anarchist nor a nihilist. . .
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  #15  
Old 09-26-2001, 07:49 PM
tsunamisurfer tsunamisurfer is offline
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Quote:
Good! So you could have had meaningless nookie in French subtitles. That doesn't sound too shabby!

[/B]
And afterward she drove home in her mother's Volvo. Funny, but I thought nihilists drove Volkswagen's.

Seriously, could we therefore conclude that an anarchist is a liberatarian with conviction?
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  #16  
Old 09-27-2001, 06:26 PM
Derleth Derleth is offline
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Quote:
Originally posted by tsunamisurfer
Seriously, could we therefore conclude that an anarchist is a liberatarian with conviction?
Well, Anarchists are much more radical than Libertarians, the same way Fascists are more radical than your average big-government proponent. Think of a grayscale: Pure white is absolute Anarchism, pure black is absolute Totalitarianism, and Libertarian is a light shade of gray. It's a matter of degree, not 'conviction'.
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"Ridicule is the only weapon that can be used against unintelligible propositions. Ideas must be distinct before reason can act upon them."
If you don't stop to analyze the snot spray, you are missing that which is best in life. - Miller
I'm not sure why this is, but I actually find this idea grosser than cannibalism. - Excalibre, after reading one of my surefire million-seller business plans.
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  #17  
Old 09-27-2001, 09:24 PM
tsunamisurfer tsunamisurfer is offline
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Quote:
Originally posted by Derleth
Quote:
Originally posted by tsunamisurfer
Seriously, could we therefore conclude that an anarchist is a liberatarian with conviction?
Well, Anarchists are much more radical than Libertarians, the same way Fascists are more radical than your average big-government proponent. Think of a grayscale: Pure white is absolute Anarchism, pure black is absolute Totalitarianism, and Libertarian is a light shade of gray. It's a matter of degree, not 'conviction'.
I was joking, Derleth. Thanks for the answer, however.
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  #18  
Old 09-27-2001, 10:36 PM
Derleth Derleth is offline
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Quote:
Originally posted by tsunamisurfer
Quote:
Originally posted by Derleth
Quote:
Originally posted by tsunamisurfer
Seriously, could we therefore conclude that an anarchist is a liberatarian with conviction?
Well, Anarchists are much more radical than Libertarians, the same way Fascists are more radical than your average big-government proponent. Think of a grayscale: Pure white is absolute Anarchism, pure black is absolute Totalitarianism, and Libertarian is a light shade of gray. It's a matter of degree, not 'conviction'.
I was joking, Derleth. Thanks for the answer, however.
"Oh, a joke. I get jokes!"
-Homer Simpson

Seriously, you (y'all*, actually) should take a look at this site: http://www.self-gov.org/quiz.html (World's Smallest Political Quiz)

The two-dimensional grid used by this test does a much better job of actually describing political positions than the traditional Left-Right dichotomy.

http://www.libertysoft.com/quiz/ -Downloadable version

http://www.reliablehost.com/self-gov/wspq.html -Apparent homepage

*"Y'all" is the closest thing English has to a second-person collective pronoun. German has one. English should, so I'm using that until it does.
__________________
"Ridicule is the only weapon that can be used against unintelligible propositions. Ideas must be distinct before reason can act upon them."
If you don't stop to analyze the snot spray, you are missing that which is best in life. - Miller
I'm not sure why this is, but I actually find this idea grosser than cannibalism. - Excalibre, after reading one of my surefire million-seller business plans.
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  #19  
Old 09-28-2001, 01:53 AM
Little Nemo Little Nemo is online now
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Anarchists and nihilists both think government is bad. Anarchists think things would be better if government didn't exist. Nihilists think if government didn't exist things would still be just as bad.
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  #20  
Old 09-29-2001, 02:57 PM
vl_mungo vl_mungo is offline
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Anarchists turn into Nihilists, and not the other way around.
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Groucho Marx
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