I discovered Victor Pross sometime in January, just before his debate on border policy with Larken Rose. I wasn’t familiar with the values or principles of either participant, and decided it’d be a good opportunity to expose myself to their politics. I was particularly drawn to Pross, who is a painter, otherwise known as the Anarchist Artist. Pross and Rose consider themselves ‘anarcho-capitalists’, and have been on the scene, respectively, for years.
The debate was hosted by World Alternative Media, and moderated by the founder, Josh Sigurdson. The topic at hand was a combination of open/closed border policy under Trump’s presidency, and immigration practice, primarily out of Middle Eastern countries into Europe and the United States. Outside of those parameters, the debate lacked direction, it lacked a conclusion, but most of all, it was devoid of all substance; neither of them made a significant point to support their position. The discourse exposed Victor Pross as an intellectual fraud, and highlighted the rampant ideological servitude that’s compromised his beliefs.
Sigurdson opened the debate by giving the participants a short introduction, explaining that “these folks are very similar in ideology” and that they might “overlap” on some outlooks. Across the hour-long debate, Pross and Rose share almost no common ground, despite belonging to the same school of thought. Several times, both Larken and Victor state that they agree with one another, but go on to attempt relentless refutation of any points the other tries to make. The sense of competition both men might carry from their capitalist tendencies prevented them from making any intellectual progress, and instead focused on painting the other as incorrect. This is a testament to the corrosive nature of ideology. Even though they conduct themselves elbow to elbow within their anarcho-capitalist ideology, when prompted with a discussion, ultimately share no overlapping outlooks or ideas. They offered stock answers provided by whichever component of their ideology they value most in regards to the topic at hand, and made no effort to offer original thoughts or positions; they employed ideological rhetoric (textbook regurgitation) over any notion of freethinking. Pross and Rose were more concerned with defending their hand-me-down beliefs than they were with coming to a sound conclusion on a serious matter currently happening in real-time, which would actually be the entire purpose behind such a debate. The “winner” was whoever could keep their ideology cleanest during the mudslinging; the biggest red flag might be that they belong to the same one.
Larken clung to his “core anarchist principles” with a tenacious fury; borders are an illusion of the system to keep people in place and should be abolished, as to not exercise violence against immigrants and refugees. On paper, and obviously in abstract thought, this is a wonderful notion, and an age-old anarchist value, but has virtually no bearing on reality or the human condition in its current state. Applying anarchist principles to a world that is still very much under the thumb of the establishment won’t work for obvious reasons; the software is incompatible with the hardware, as it were. Adjustments need to be made to nearly every culture, globally, before any borders are evaporated.
Although Pross advocated closed borders from the start, he didn’t offer a reasonable foundation to balance his conclusion on; Victor’s sole concern, from his opening statement until the end of the debate (and even now, on his Facebook page), is the preservation of Western culture. He exploits anarchist self-righteousness in an attempt to defend vague shades of fascism. Victor prefaced his opening argument with the importance of maintaining Western tradition, which was, coincidentally, the only point he made any effort to defend. He had no intention of discussing anarchist philosophy with Larken, who maintained those anarchist outlooks, despite having no other logical basis to defend them. Pross took the position of a sophist time and time again: he claimed that a borderless society can only exist when there is a “truly free society”, but until that happens, place the key to the door in the hands of the government. Victor’s position was that of a defender of Western culture and the various ideologies within it, not that of an anarchist concerned with developing a free society, considering he mentioned no method of achieving one. To Victor, he interprets further centralized power as a step in the right direction.
Prior to the debate, Victor was talking a big game: he claimed he had “put on a philosopher’s cap” in order to reach his rightwing conclusions. By advocating Trump’s immigration and border policies for the sake of keeping “low IQ” cultures out of the West, and closing the borders to those seeking refuge, Pross earned himself a badge of neo-conservatism, no matter which way he paints it. He doesn’t support anti-immigration policies because they resonate with his anarchist beliefs, but because he worships Western culture, much like a Muslim might worship Islam. Pross cited cultural incompatibility as a reason to secure the borders. This is a factual claim, but that’s only because of the blind idolatry practiced by ideologues like Pross and the “low IQ” cultures he’s so critical of. This is an indication of Victor’s inability to maintain any semblance of intellectual integrity. Larken was able to poke holes in Pross’ arguments because nothing he said had any consistency, outside of his call for Western preservation.
Larken accused Victor a number of times of not really having a position, operating only in the abstract. I initially disagreed with this assessment, as Larken is the one harboring the position that works best on paper, but doesn’t transition into the real world as effectively. Upon revisiting the debate several times, Larken is absolutely correct; Victor explains that he “prefaced all of his commentary with specific context”. Pross says “context” more than any other word throughout his talking points. If one were to watch the debate, they could actually swap Victor’s use of “context” with “culture”; they are very nearly interchangeable, and really the only thing he invests himself in. Without the very specific context provided for each of his points, Victor’s arguments reveal themselves as baseless, borderline incoherent. Without the rigid structure and stipulations of his ideology, Pross’ positions collapse in on themselves as if they were made of sand.
Victor and Larken agreed that they had no desire to be overrun by people who speak a different language and uphold different values. That’s a fair position. The difference is that Larken isn’t willing to generalize against large groups of people, especially if violence is involved. Victor is willing to make such generalizations against potentially innocent people; another symptom of his ideological servitude. It dictates and even overrides any previous principles Pross may have had. He’s willing to exchange his personal values for cultural security.
The inconsistencies in Victor’s rhetoric were sourced in his inability to define freedom; he postured that immigrants used to seek refuge in America because it offered “freedom and opportunity”, but they now only migrate here because of the liberal pitfall of the Western welfare state. As long as free stuff is available to outlanders, they’ll keep lining up at the door. Victor then goes on to explain that borders could only be evaporated in a “truly free society”, despite claiming that was originally the only incentive for previous immigrants. Pross maintains a hyper-elusive definition of freedom, as none of his examples line up with each other at all.
To take his fallacious arguments even further, one could posture that Western culture is inherently statist; it has roots in Ancient Greece with the birth of democracy, the assembling of governments, and the structuring of dogma (in any capacity, from religion to science, economics to slavery). Western culture has played host to monarchies, genocide, relentless Romanized imperialism, and coercive institutions, as every culture is a composition of various ideological shell games. Western culture, like many, is ripe with bad ideas when examined by an anarchist, as Christianity is partly responsible for its development. Through philosophical mutations, religion has a consistent history of crafting statist cultures; none of them invented the centralization of authority, as that seems to be a byproduct of religious societal foundations. Pross postures that Western culture is a valuable component of anarchism’s future, which isn’t obvious to anyone but him. Victor makes the case that Western culture is somehow friendlier to anarchism than other cultures, despite its demonizing of the concept over the last century through political propaganda and misinformed mainstream reporting. Despite the revolutions that have happened in the West, none of them have produced anything but another form of government, a different panel of centralized power. Victor believes that anarchism is only possible through Western culture, but doesn’t have any evidence to support his claim, as every culture, historically, has practiced some form of anti-state rebellion.
Pross argues the opposite by harping about the values of ideas in the West, and the need to maintain the tradition: massive prisoner populations, oppressive social and political tactics, and endless exploitation of labor. These are the ideals that Victor found worthy to defend during his debate.
The hypocrisy goes beyond his discussion with Larken. After the debate, both participants fired shots at one another on Facebook. Pross mentioned a second debate to clear up any confusion and Rose promptly blocked him. Victor complained about being blocked for four months, mentioning the debate (and the importance of preserving the West) on a near daily basis. At one point during the disconnect, Pross caught word that Rose had mentioned him and their debate a time or two over the course of a couple of days; Victor claimed that this meant Larken knew that the arguments he used during the debate were dishonest. If that were true, what could Victor’s constant posting about Larken over the course of months possibly mean? Larken mentioned the pool they’d both pissed in months after the fact… Pross was content to tread water in it until his opposition returned. Victor’s criticisms are rooted in hypocrisy.
I actually challenged Pross on his Facebook page in regards to immigration, which he referred to as a “third world invasion”. Victor uses his page as a platform, and shares a lot of his thoughts and outlooks publicly for discussion. Upon properly refuting his unfounded arguments, Pross unfriended me and took away my ability to comment on his page. I personally messaged him to further debase his outlooks, to which he promptly responded to by saying “fuck off, brother” before blocking me.
After hounding Larken day and night for exercising the block button, and expressing his love for intellectual discussion, Victor exposed himself as everything he is critical of: a hypocritical, ideologically compromised sophist who is incapable of maintaining his intellectual integrity. When challenged with facts or prompted with discussion, Victor offers nothing of substance, nothing outside of his sphere of Western idolization.
Victor exposed himself as a fraud and as an ideologue, specifically a Randroid; that is, a devout follower of Ayn Rand’s philosophies. He cites Rand a number of times on his Facebook page, and uses private property like a mantra both in and out of the debate. If one were to thumb through his profile pictures, they’d find a collection of stoic black and white photos of Pross, even sporting Rand’s signature cigarette. During the debate, Victor even claims that the notion of multiculturalism is an “attack on Objectivity”, likely a reference to Objectivism, Rand’s thoroughly debunked brain child.
When placed under the microscope, Victor Pross comes apart at the seams. The intellectual ground where he chooses to place his feet is unstable to say the least. The sophistry he employs to establish his rhetoric in defense of his ideology is textbook: his arguments require specific context because they are ripe with fallacies. Once Victor’s carefully constructed stilts are pulled out from under his ideas, they wobble as if they never had any balance at all. He provides his thought structure (mostly built by Rand’s philosophy, and totally devoted to Western culture), but is unable to coherently defend it. Logic has a way of worming its way into anti-intellectualism and exposing it as fraudulence.