Unethical Website Of The Month: “The Anarchist”

“The Anarchist”is the website of a hate-based Toronto coffee shop of the same name. Ironically, Ethics Alarms just learned of the site’s existence as it announced the demise of the business. (Good!) The shop anointed itself as “an anti-capitalist cafe, shop and radical community space on stolen land”—yes, the owners are delusional. It was a “pay what you choose” establishment designed to spit in the metaphorical eye of evil Capitalism. Of course it went belly-up, though the fact that the carzy project lasted even a year is impressive, sort of, in the same way Brian Stelter getting hired is impressive.

Here are some highlights from the website:

  • “It’s been an amazing experience, connecting with so many great community members, sparking desperately needed debate, raising the blood pressure of Conservatives (that includes you, “anarcho-capitalists” and “Libertarians”), fulfilling the dream of most service workers by not having to tolerate the presence of professional class-traitors (pigs and military), and experimenting with living and working in ways that don’t enthusiastically embrace the pure misanthropy of Capitalism. Unfortunately, the lack of generational wealth/seed capital from ethically bankrupt sources left me unable to weather the quiet winter season, or to grow in the ways needed to be sustainable longer-term….
  • “I am a white, cisgender, queer man. When I used to daydream about opening my own cafe, the idea always left a bad taste in my mouth because I also feel that the world doesn’t need more things owned by people at my particular intersection of privileges. However, this opportunity was offered to me, and I see it as an opportunity to use my privileged position to undermine the systems that put me there. The best thing I think I can do is hire people who aren’t white, cisgender, heterosexual men, make them equal owners, and follow their lead in making the place less white-male-centered than the industry standard.”
  • “Fuck the rich. Fuck the police. Fuck the state. Fuck the colonial death camp we call ‘Canada’.”

The owner appears to be gaslighting himself. I’d like to see a forensic examination of this guy’s upbringing, education and personal traumas to try to understand how people like him get this way.

But only after my sock drawer is in immaculate shape.

25 thoughts on “Unethical Website Of The Month: “The Anarchist”

  1. It sounds like the community he embraced wasn’t willing to give him the seed money he needed to stay afloat. Letting people pay what they choose is a good way to lose one’s shirt. Human Nature drives us to get what we can at the least possible expense to us. Or, perhaps, some of those conservatives he hates so much could have provided much-needed profits if they hadn’t felt so unwelcome at his place.

    Social Contract, folks. Or the Golden Rule, if you prefer.

    • Ha! What he said was that his lack of generational wealth/seed capital from ethically bankrupt sources left him unable to weather the quiet winter season or grow the business. In other words, he doesn’t come from a wealthy family and couldn’t or wouldn’t get a loan from a one of those icky banks. So, when winter came and the tourists stopped coming, he was nowhere. Fellow wokesters who don’t come from wealthy families won’t pay him enough to keep him going, and ordinary or conservative folks will walk right past his place, especially after he decided to get super-explicit with where he was coming from. I like my coffee WITHOUT a side of liberal politics, thank you very much, and I certainly don’t want a side of hate-based politics with it.

  2. If you scroll down his Instagram account you will run into endless posts that boil down to the same handful of opinions:

    1. Cops suck.
    2. The military sucks.
    3. White men are privileged jerks.
    4. Canada is built on genocide.
    5. Having to work is bad.
    6. Positivity is bad, it’s better to be hateful and bitter.
    7. Everything is that much more effective when said with a side of curse words, especially “fuck.”

    This appears to be a one-man show, and he is coming in for his share of hate now that he is closing. Good for those who are telling him off. One of them said “North Korea is waiting for assholes like you.”. Bingo.

    • Why can’t people like this guy just leave the hellhole they are always bitching about and go live in their imagined commie paradise thereby allowing the rest of us to enjoy our privilege in peace. Sheesh!

      • Because to do that, they need “generation wealth” or “seed capital” (plus, of we’re honest, ongoing support) “from ethically bankrupt sources”. In other words, they need other people to front the money for their unsustainable lifestyle.

  3. Note to future business owner: Perhaps insulting your customer base is not very recipe for success. Aside from going home on a regular basis, I am not sure I would frequent a place where the owner told me I am not wanted and my patronage is not appreciated. I mean, I bet there is a Starbucks right around the corner. Like Starbucks or not but they know how to run a business.


  4. “Unfortunately, the lack of generational wealth/seed capital from ethically bankrupt sources left me unable to weather the quiet winter season, or to grow in the ways needed to be sustainable longer-term….”

    I translate that as: “I gave people the option to not pay for stuff and they took advantage…those meanies!! Then the bank that loaned me money wouldn’t accept non-payment as a form of payment…those evil meanies!!! That same bank wouldn’t loan me more money just because I couldn’t pay back what they gave me the first time…those dastardly evil meanies!!!”

    • “Unfortunately, the lack of generational wealth/seed capital from ethically bankrupt sources…”

      Wait…did I have this all wrong? Was Mr. Clifford saying that he needed more generational wealth/seed capital from ethically bankrupt sources? Why would I want or trust any kind of money or guarantee from an ethically bankrupt source?

      So, is he stating “the lack of (generational wealth/seed capital) from ethically bankrupt sources”
      “(the lack of generational wealth)/(seed capital from ethically bankrupt sources)…” are what did him in?

      This is suddenly confusing, which means Mr. Clifford’s business acumen isn’t his only issue…clarity of ideas is another.

  5. I’ve been reading Doris Lessing’s “The Golden Notebook,” which is, among other things, about a bunch of ’40s and ’50s era Communist party members in England and Colonial English Africa. They sound just like this guy. Interesting how unhappy people are so drawn to communism. Their solution to their unhappiness appears to be making everyone else unhappy. Systematically.

    Privilege is such a recent slur. I have spent my life in a family world where one of the main responsibilities of adult parents is to privilege their children. It’s something that’s admirable and to aspire to. When a lefty first told me to “check my privilege,” I thought, “Privilege is what my parents gave me and what I’m attempting to do for my children in the hope they will do the same for their children because we’re a family. We’re not going to wait for the village or the government to raise our children, thank you very much.” The lefty in question had an unhappy childhood and is a fairly angry lesbian with a case of borderline personality disorder. She was incredibly privileged, the daughter of a NYC physician. She has a Ph.D. in child psychology. People like the cafe owner are just intractably unhappy and messed up. Nothing drives them crazier than being ignored by happy, normal people.

    • I have to say, it’s a really attractive coffee shop. I hope someone comes along and buys the space as it is and takes over the lease and makes it profitable and it survives.

  6. Let’s just say, only good little anarchists patronized his coffee shop and they paid a fair price for his coffee services. Aren’t we right back to Capitalism?

    • They do not understand that, even in a communist system, the market is as free as they can make it. Just because capitalism (I prefer principles of economic freedom) still works within whatever restrictions are in place. In lots of communist countries, it just works on a black market.


  7. The rationalist community may be a bit confused about how to apply the concepts they figure out, but the concepts themselves tend to be quite perceptive. One such concept is phrased succinctly as, “reversed stupidity is not intelligence.”

    Communists and anarchists see the very real flaws in capitalist economies or systems of government and think, “wouldn’t it be great if we got rid of those systems and replaced them with human decency?” They don’t seem to think any further than that. They don’t have an understanding of why capitalism exists in the first place, and the advantages and disadvantages of both capitalism and the more community-centered systems they claim to be drawing insights from. (E.g. artificially expensive healthcare versus very limited healthcare.)

    It’s sort of like a person whose shoes are uncomfortable deciding to get rid of all shoes and expecting that to be an improvement for humanity, instead of figuring out how to get better shoes. It’s also known as throwing the proverbial baby out with the bathwater.

    Instead of describing their planned solutions in functional terms, they fill in the gaps with all the abstract concepts that capitalism is missing. They paper over the lack of defined mechanisms with fuzzy words like “love” and “justice”, as if it’s so easy to get a community to agree on what those mean when it comes to taking action.

    Historically, once they’ve destroyed Chesterton’s Fence they eventually realize they don’t have another way to constructively resolve human conflict. Without money, we don’t currently have a reliable way to determine the allocation of resources and human effort on a large enough scale and a long enough time frame to give everyone the standard of living that these people expect. A society needs some means of measuring how much people want things and keeping track of what value people contribute, and money is the most convenient way to do that so far. There are certainly problems with how we apply the concept of money, but that doesn’t make money itself inherently harmful. If anything, it’s easier to impose corruption without money, because money quantifies promises of favors that might otherwise be distorted, forgotten, or rescinded out of spite.

    Ultimately, the fatal flaw here is proposing solutions for society’s problems that involve abolishing economies, rigorous science, cultures, and governments while providing no meaningful plan for overcoming the four fundamental liabilities (scarcity, disaster, stagnation, and conflict), which are the entire reason that economies, rigorous science, cultures, and governments exist in the first place. The power of solidarity? Direct democracy? A spiritual connection with nature? Those are nice to have, but insufficient without some basic principles backing them up. …Or brainwashing, I guess they could back them up with brainwashing. That tends to be bad for maintaining the technology that keeps people from starving, though.

    • the fatal flaw here is proposing solutions for society’s problems that involve abolishing economies, rigorous science, cultures, and governments while providing no meaningful plan for overcoming…”

      China launched their…um… Proposed Solution 57 years ago today.

  8. So, “pay what you want to pay” philosophy *for only customers* is his clear undoing here. My guess is that his workers wouldn’t like the philosophy as it applied to their employment right? Or maybe they were all such perfect little communists they don’t care about wages just providing value to the community and happy with the value the community provides back from the goodness of their hearts….

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