The rest of Kropotkin's book is a step by step refutation of the narrow view of Darwin's theories, from the animal kingdom to modern society. The reactionaries who desire to prove the two tiered system of human society encompassed in the theories of Hobbes, Burke, Malthus, Spencer, and Huxley, using the theories of Charles Darwin had not met so capable and astute adversary in his ability to find fault and refute their moral madness since the deaths of Paine, Jefferson, and Madison.
Kropotkin, like Karl Marx with his Communism, had many things that were impractical or simply would not work within his idealistic philosophy of anarchic socialism. Both Kropotkin and Marx shared the Nineteenth Century's Socialist idea that Socialism means not only a stateless society, but a moneyless and thus wage-less society as well. This cannot work given humankind's strong materialistic streak, and desire to "keep up with the Joneses" in a way they can show to the whole World.
But the trained scientist in him recognized that going down the road of anarchic or even miniarchic individualism of today's libertarians was not only not the solution, but was contrary to the observations in nature, human society, and human history of both Charles Darwin and himself. Such a system would ultimately lead to an autocracy or an oligarchy as bad or worse than what the already struggling workers were experiencing in the early Twentieth Century.
George Monbiot wrote on this in his December 20, 2011 article for the Guardian (UK) , "This Bastardized Libertarianism Makes 'Freedom' an Instrument of Oppression," "Modern libertarianism is the disguise adopted by those who wish to exploit without restraint. It pretends that only the state intrudes on our liberties. It ignores the role of banks, corporations and the rich in making us less free. It denies the need for the state to curb them in order to protect the freedoms of weaker people. This bastardized, one-eyed philosophy is a con trick, whose promoters attempt to wrongfoot justice by pitching it against liberty. By this means they have turned "freedom" into an instrument of oppression."
Activists of all varieties will sometimes assume that the only means to attain their goals is to completely take what they view as the problem out of the equation. In philosophy, this is referred to as nihilism, and nihilistic solutions often cause more problems than the problem they are striving to correct.
Maggie McNeill, a libertarian whose opinion I value--even if I disagree with it sometimes--on many different subjects, gave a perfect example of this on her "Honest Courtesan" blog of June 13, 2012, in a piece called "Pick a Color," discussing the decriminalization of prostitution:
"As I've pointed out before, gay rights activists succeeded with the one-issue strategy by expanding their "tent" to include lesbians, bisexuals and a number of smaller sexual minorities grouped together as "transgender"; sex workers need to do the same thing by fighting attempts to divide us into "legal" and "illegal" sex workers, "high" and "low" class, etc; we also need to win the support of true feminists who recognize that a woman's right to own and control her body doesn't just mean abortion . Decriminalization can only be won by fighting to get government out of individuals' private lives altogether, not by demanding it let us alone in some ways, but interfere in others and "protect" us in still others while simultaneously abrogating the rights of other people we oppose (emphasis added by this article's author). We cannot defeat the control freaks by becoming exactly like them and forming a "Wild Party" whose only distinguishing feature is our red clothes."
Now, as any of my regular readers know, I am very much for the decriminalization of prostitution, as evidenced by my March 24, 2012 OpEdNews article "Making Sex Illegal ." I took over 7000 words and many hours of research to refute the government's and mainstream media's scare tactics of widespread sex trafficking of underage and other individuals, as well as other so-called problems with the decriminalization of prostitution. These stories have no real basis in fact, at least in the Western Democracies, and are being blown out of proportion by a consortium of the government, religious leaders, Extreme Feminists (or as Ms. McNeill calls them neo-feminists), and members of the main stream media, as the latest boogie man to threaten our lives and Western Civilization from within in order to take away more of our individual liberty. It is all a part of the system of smoke and mirrors that is being used to take our eyes off of the real problems in our society: a middle-class that is shrinking faster than an erect penis in freezing water, the growing wealth and political power of the wealthiest one-one-hundredth (1/100th) of one percent of our population, and a system of government that is increasingly unresponsive to the needs of the majority of its citizens.
In "Making Sex Illegal " and my follow-up April 17, 2012 OpEdNews article, " Rebel With a Cause ," I offered a number of possibilities for a system of minimalist regulation of prostitution after it was decriminalized; systems that had been tried with success in Europe, that imposed minimal constraints on the lives of those I call "professional sex providers." I offered them less out of any need I feel for professional sex providers to be regulated (that is what public nuisance laws are for), than for the general public to feel comfortable with the new order of things. It lessens the shock to those whose unwarranted suspicions--because they are uninformed and misinformed--have been confronted with the new reality, resulting in uncertainty and fear. I do not believe that Ms. McNeill's utopian dream of trying "to get government out of individuals' private lives altogether" is either feasible, or desirable.
How far do we go with that idea? Do we allow parents to beat their children, or husbands to beat their wives? These situations are, after all, part of their "private lives." Many far-right religious conservatives would argue that beating their children is part of their Biblical duty as parents ("spare the rod, spoil the child"), and some would even hold that beating a disobedient wife is likewise "Biblically sanctioned." If these are acceptable, what of the sexual molestation of a child by a parent or relative, or the rape of a spouse? If we are " to get government out of individuals' private lives altogether ," where do we draw the line?
In the real world, many times without the direct and immediate intervention of the state in such matters, the victims have no idea of any alternative to their current situation, or the means to obtain aid to leave their current predicament if they do. "Stockholm Syndrome" is very real, and is more likely to exist in a dysfunctional family situation than most of us would ever care to admit.
Libertarians and conservatives will say, "They need to take control of their own lives, accept their personal responsibility, 'pull themselves up by their bootstraps,' and deal with it themselves." But many people, especially those from poorer economic backgrounds, the disabled, immigrants, or those with fundamentalist religious convictions, have not been equipped by their life experience to undertake such a daunting choice without assistance. (No, TV is not an adequate substitute for real world knowledge or experience.) The conservatives and libertarians are, in essence, asking people without boots to pull themselves up by their bootstraps.
This has always been the difficulty with the black/white, yes/no authoritarian (generally conservative) mind, as well as every other form of absolutist ideology: they refuse to recognize or acknowledge the necessity of any higher order decision making, or to recognize the weakness or outright falseness that their premises are based upon. It is not wholly a conservative problem: but it is historically the conservatives who are most likely to have emotionally invested in this authoritarian mindset. Historically, those individuals on the left who have come out of a strongly conservative, authoritarian system, the way Marx and Engels did in Prussia, and Lenin and Stalin did in Czarist Russia, are also very much more likely to have a strongly authoritarian disposition.
All of the anti-Government conservatives and libertarians consistently forget the profound but obvious truths expressed by two of our greatest Presidents.
The first of these was expressed by our fourth President, James Madison in The Federalist Papers, No. 47, December 1788, "What is government itself but the greatest of all reflections on human nature? If men were angels, no government would be necessary. If angels were to govern men, neither external nor internal controls on government would be necessary."
The second of these was part of a speech by our twenty-sixth President, Theodore Roosevelt, given on September 9, 1902, in Asheville, North Carolina, " The government is us; we are the government, you and I."