Billions will die. This is possibly the most quickly voiced objection to anarcho-primitivism: if implemented billions will die. Only civilzation can support a human population of 7 billion (and growing). There cannot be 7 billion hunter-gatherers. A population of 7 billion needs to be packed into dense cities like slaves into wooden ships. The density alone means that there will be a significant attrition rate but anti-primitivist critics are seemingly just trying to ignore the fact that the ship is already sinking. Yet it’s difficult to celebrate the sea-worthiness of a slave ship. Anarcho-primitivists are suggesting a mutiny and possibly a turning back but are consequently blamed for putting the whole vessel at risk and besides, it is said that we’ve already gone too far. How will we make it to land without the captain?
Even those who are seemingly receptive to the critique of civilization such as Ronald Wright, author of A Short History of Progress, counsel against rocking the boat too hard. Wright counsels:
“Those who don’t like civilization, and can’t wait for it to fall on its arrogant face, should keep in mind that there is no other way to support humanity in anything like our present numbers or estate.”
Wright follows this point with a footnote that says; “Put bluntly, billions would die.”
Those who are less receptive to the critique of civilization than Wright will regularly use the word “genocidal” to describe the anarcho-primitivist ideal. Anarcho-statist Noam Chomsky has said that primitivists are “calling for the worst mass genocide in human history”. Resistance is both crazy and dangerous; better to bide one’s time in the belly of the ship, strive to adapt to one’s new conditions.
In reality, anarcho-primitivists are sounding the alarm: things do not get better when the slave ship arrives in the so-called “New World”. Waiting to act allows the stakes to get higher and puts even greater numbers in jeopardy.
Civilization currently has about 7 billion hostages. Anyone who seeks to disrupt civilization’s machinations is accused of putting those hostages at risk. But civilization is a fanatic who is not looking to make a deal. The hostages will never be released; as it stands, many of them already show symptoms of aligning with their captor. Indeed, as the human population grows, civilization claims even greater numbers. Soon anarcho-primitivists will likely be accused of putting 8 or 9 billion people in jeopardy. “Billions will die” the critics will warn. Ronald Wright explained that as civilization advanced, it “kicked out the rungs below” and so it will inevitalby be a terrifying and painful jump (or perhaps fall) back to sane way of life.
Nonetheless, mutiny remains the best course of action even knowing full well that not everyone will survive; we do not want to go where this ship is heading.