Saturday, September 20, 2008

Anarchist Communication Guide

Communication as a marketing strategy

Those who use communication to spread ideas commonly use verbal communication. All kinds of communication contains vagueness, semantic barriers and misunderstandings that cause unproductive conflicts. Communication requires an amount of common understanding and definition of language and its use.

Suppose if an individual thought of an idea. The first thing that he should do, involves researching the benefits of communicating his idea in the first place. If he wants to spread his idea to others as a larger strategy in achieving some goal, such spreading his idea of Agorism, he should adhere to the common marketing strategies.

Communication and groupthink

The process of multiple individuals collaborating to create ideas and to solve problems defines groupthink. Groupthink, since it requires a plurality of individuals, requires communication. Members should equip the same definitions of the terms to communicate thoroughly.

However, groupthink has its disadvantages. Because of the effort of communication, it often results in slowness of idea development due to time spent on communication. The time spent speaking and writing out ideas to others may lag the speed of idea creation by hundreds of times. The time spent on communication may constitute 99% of the time, while authentic thinking may constitute merely 1% of the time.

Research their audience

The effort on writing concise and non-vague text consumes too much time. Writers should explain clearly, even though the idea may seem obvious for him, to express his ideas. Writers should research their audience for their jargon and their definitions, in order to avoid semantic disputes and misunderstandings. They also should research the audience's background and knowledge, and define terms that they might confuse.

One thing that communicators often forgot, includes the style of their communication and the attractiveness of the text. They should research his audience's interests and include things that may interest them, in order for them to continue the reading. Using active voice instead of passive voice makes writing more interesting. For example, use The state enslaves people. instead of People are enslaved by the state. Avoid "nots," for example, use Inflation harms instead of Inflation does not help. Truth behaves objectively, instead of Truth does not behave subjectively. The state behaves evilly, instead of No state can behave morally.

Communicators often ignore marketing their text, which in many cases considered the most important step in spreading ideas. Forgetting their marketing strategy undermines their purpose of writing: to spread their idea to as many as possible to promote a cause, such as Agorism. If they do not market their idea as wide of an audience as possible, then why write at all?

Symbol grounding

In order to perform an accurate standard of communication without any semantic conflicts, communicators would often should define their terms concise enough. This challenging task, ironically, often results in incomplete and unclear definitions, due to the confusion within these words that defines the term. John Searle's Chinese room argument considers the theoretical impossibility of defining terms without going contradictory, while not assuming common assumptions.

A partial solution to reduce vagueness involves giving examples demonstrating the definition. Explain examples of physical actions demonstrating what the definition does and does not mean increases clearness. For example, defining defense requires the communicator to explain thoroughly various situations:

  • If one physically hit the same individual who had hit himself without his permission, one has defended himself.
  • If one put a fence around his property or locked the door to his home, one defended himself.
  • No contract existed between Alice and Bob exempting punishment for threatening speech. Bob said a threatening statement I am going to hit you. Alice did not get offended. If Alice hits Bob, Alice has performed self-defense.
  • No contract existed between Alice and Bob prohibiting non-threatening speech. Bob said a non-threatening statement: Women are stupid. Alice becomes offended. If Alice hits Bob, Alice would have aggressed against Bob. Therefore, if Alice hits Bob and then Bob hits Alice, Bob has performd self-defense when he hits Alice.

Use concise terms

Counterproductive aphorism

Whenever an anarchist saying aphorism like government is slavery, taxation is theft, or democracy is bad, these phrases would result in semantic disputes if interpreted incorrectly by the interventionist. Interventionist have multiple interpretations of words like theft, is, or government in these contexts.

The term government implies a broad range of definitions, ranging from a state government, to self-government, to corporate government. The latter two definitions can derive from voluntary associations, while the former implies an inherently aggressive association which does slavery. Thus, the phrase The state is slavery. feels more neutral.

Individuals from various backgrounds interpret the word is in this phrase differently. The is word may have interpreted as an inherent property of the "state." However, the term "state" does not possess any inherent positive or negative attribute; its behavior determines its positive or negative attributes. Therefore, Objects are Morally Neutral.

A more neutral method to rewrite the phrase The state is slavery involves replacing the meaning of "slavery" in this context, which equates the state and theft as inherent, to resemble a behavior, like "enslaves." The phrase becomes The state enslaves. However, it contains further vagueness since it does not acknowledge the object that it enslaves. Does the state enslave the working class, the capitalist class, or the bureaucrats? The state does enslave the former, and it does not enslave from the latter two. Appending "us," an object, to the phrase would look more neutral: The state enslaves us. This has clearly shown that the phrase The state enslaves us. looks much more neutral than the phrase Government is slavery.

Interventionists do not interpret the phrase taxation is theft as consistent because they irrationally believe that the state has resulted from a social contract, hence all members implicitly legalized taxation. Though anarchist realize that taxation is theft, the use of the word "theft" to the interventionist would confuse them. Counterproductive strategies such as repeating the vague phrase would do nothing than to incite further conflict and semantic disputes. A more rational strategy involves using concise words and logical arguments to derive that taxation harms rather than helps us.


The word "is" in the phrase taxation is theft can imply synonymy for taxation and theft, hence taxation and theft becomes interchangeable.

The word "is" can also imply taxation as a subset of theft, which would imply the word "is" behaves as an injective relation.

The word "is" can further imply that there exist only one classification of the subject. For example, the look at the definition of a dog: A dog is a species of mammal. The "is" would imply that the term dog does not have any definition other than a species of mammal. Because individuals would interpret the word "is" as an injective relation, other definitions such as humans commonly keep dogs as pets, or dogs bark, should not exist. An ontological or ultimate categorization of "dogs" does not exist. Because this does not exist, this refutes the connotation that the word "is" behaves like an injective relation even though the definition of "is" in the previous paragraph defines "is" as an injective relation.

This demonstrates that the word "is" implies vagueness. However, all the verbs that means "to be," in addition to "is," also implies ambiguity. The word "to be" has derived from ontology, a theory of the ultimate categories of things. Since reason shows that "ultimate categories" do not exist, the use of the "to be" words imply an ultimate category of things.

Avoiding "to be" words (am, is, was, are, were, be, been, being) lessens the ontological concepts in writing, which would make sentences look more neutral. E-Prime uses this strategy. The use of E-Prime, though does not eliminate ontology in any way, lessens the use of it. Individuals still should reason non-ontologically and non-taxonomically to make objects neutral. More active voice sentences over passive voice sentences result from a side-effect of E-Prime, as explained above that active voice often makes writing more interesting.


Consider a statement used by Austrian economists:

While most people agree that computer science, physics and chemistry contains deductive truths, most people deny that economics contains deductive truths.

The use of the word "most" resembles a vague statement. The word "most" did not refer whether to most of individuals in the United States, the neoclassical economists, the majority of self-identified Austrian economists, or did it refer to the speaker. "Most" of the individuals in the United States, paradoxically, might believe that economics contains deductive truths because of their ignorance of the empirical methodology of mainstream economics. Thus the use of the word "most" interprets as highly vague and represents a subjective viewpoint, without any objective criteria of the usage (whether over most of the individuals in the United States or mainstream economist). The words "majority," "some," and "few" also interpret as vague words.

Furthermore, words that relate to size, time, speed, distance and other quantifiable concepts have differing interpretations. The use of "large" or "small" to denote an object implies a relative comparison to other objects within the specific category. A "large" dog means that it looks larger than the mediocre "dog." However, what if a person who, in his lifetime, looked at dogs that grew large? That person would classify the "large" dog as mediocre.

Numerical concepts often represent highly subjective, and even inaccurate interpretations. The mainstream media frequently referred that India's "economy" would become larger than the United States. What does "economy" mean? Does it refer to the nominal GDP or CPI-adjusted GDP, the total GDP or the per capita GDP, or does it refer to another measure of the "economy"? The Indian government, using extrapolation of empirical growth rates, deduced this numerical statistic that the "economy" would grow larger. The statistic did not realize that the relatively "high" growth rates would slow down after time due to lower economic freedom compared to Western nations.

The left-right political spectrum

See The Fallacy of the Political Spectrum

True definition

Common or generally accepted definitions do not exist. While the majority of the individuals in the United States believe that democracy synonymously equates with freedom, the Austrian economist would equate it with majority rule. Others, including the Bush administration, would equate it with "capitalism."

While the majority defines socialism in the Marxist definition as a transitional stage to "communism," bureaucrats would define it as a mixed economy. The majority in Europe may equate socialism as a "Third Way" of "Social Democracy," and the Austrian economist may refer socialism as synonymous to a planned system. Furthermore, others, including the "left-libertarians," and the Mutualist, refer socialism as any strategy achieving workers' equality.

Socialism, communism and progressivism, do not adhere to any generally accepted definition among all types of subjects. While progressivism originally meant as making progress, it became distorted by the popular individuals which means nothing than a synonym for "leftism" among the majority in the United States, while in India, it may mean some form of totalitarian and planned social system. Always use the true definitions, not the "popular" definitions that one subjectively accept. As these might mean vastly different in other states and ideologies, a centrally accepted definition does not exist.

Liberal and conservatism mean polar opposites as defined by the majority in the United States and mean synonyms as in Australia. The majority in the United States might see these terms reversed to mean opposites, such as in Europe. Even worse, the terms "left-liberalism" and "right-liberalism" do not have any well-defined general acception. Left-liberalism might mean an economically non-interventionist corporate capitalist society by a majority of European professors, due to different definitions of "liberalism" in Europe; while right-liberalism might mean some branch in the Democrat Party that endorses religious fundamentalist values, by a majority of Democrats who attended some college that defines right-liberalism that way.

Murray N. Rothbard's mistake in the use of left-liberalism in his manifesto For a New Liberty may have convinced a few for his apparent self-explanatory definition, while others, such as European readers, may mistakenly interpret this as some pure free-market system while advocating maximum personal freedom. He did not appear to research how his audience defines left-liberalism, which resulted in huge mistakes. No one knows what it means. It could mean anything. It can mean the positions advocated by the current United States Republican Party, since they have the same view on economic intervention as the positions of the Democrat Party except lesser "pork barrel spending."

Rothbard could have used interventionism in place of left-liberalism. He could have used statist in place. He could even have used conservatism, since its true definition meant status quo or status quo ante, which logically implicated its opposition to change, especially anarchist revolution.

One should the true definition, not some "popular accepted" one. As proved, a popular accepted one, no matter how popular, might mean the polar opposite in other countries or in differing occupations. As this would discussed later, individuals should avoid ideological words to avoid differing definitions.

Don't replace semantics with content

Well, what has the current "anarchist" debate fed up to? Anarchist within a wide range of economic positions, each and every day, clashing among each other with loud and roaring sounds IN ALL CAPS and in repetition, have become label warriors every day. Many Internet warriors, who on the forums, blogs, mailing lists and even on YouTube comment discussions, rant each other out on confusing and conflicting terms filled with "package deals" and negative connotations that rapidly incite heated attacks against each other, enough to make any reader offended without any reason, other than the simple explanation: caused by the communication incompatibilities and differing definitions that go unnoticed.

Don't ever go on these sites nor read anything, even in curiosity, unless one wants to have a mental conflict that forces one to reply against these apparent trolls. Never use any controversial terms like "capitalism," "anarcho-capitalism," and "objectivism," unless one wants to feed the collectivist "anarchist," and the Randroid trolls.

What causes the internal cause of these fights? Different definitions between the Randians and the non-Randians exemplifies the main cause of the objectivist-subjectivist conflicts. The clash of the word "Anarchism" of the Communist and the Free-Marketeers results in an ever-growing, ever-lasting debate among these, even in the original philosophers such as Murray Bookchin's essay: Social Anarchism or Lifestyle Anarchism - An Unbridgeable Chasm.

In his essay, filled with bizarre and obvious flawed assumptions, these flawed assumptions perform the major contributions!

He has renamed Individualist anarchism with Lifestyle anarchism for the very misunderstanding that Individualist anarchism does not even respect nor help the workers in any way--Bookchin perceived that the rich and the elite developed the "individualist anarchist" philosophy as a way to liberate from the traditional cultural restrictions on drugs and gambling, at an expense of the decrease in the living standards of the workers.

All the chapters in his book, filled with same-old arguments against the current state-capitalist order, have the same criticism sections in An Anarchist FAQ against anarcho-capitalism.

All the labels have become semantic, and the "anarcho"-communist who wrote the FAQ have become so informed that they do not even know the true concept of "individualist anarchism." If the philosophy "individualist anarchism" replaces its name to "free-market anarchism," the authors would quickly shun it. The self-identified "anarcho"-communist contain a diverse array of "anarcho"-communist philosophies, such as Mutualism, Anarcho-Communism, Anarcho-Collectivism, Anarcho-Syndicalism, etc., which internally differ much more greatly with each other than all the free-market anarchist philosophies combined!

Please ignore the Anarcho-Communist. Ignore them. Spend more time marketing Agorism instead of criticizing Anarcho-Communism, and then have everything done.

What do we do?

Instead of playing the "semantic game" with the statists who shun away whenever the word "anarchism" appears, focus on using more neutral words. As said, please avoid controversial words and words differing in definition, especially anarchism, capitalism, socialism, communism, libertarianism, and even free market if possible; in order to convert the maximum number of statists directly to anarchist philosophy without all the mess trolling in forums and in blogs.

To further and maximize the effect of avoiding as many connotations as possible, please avoid the ideologies that ends with "-ism," and avoid words such as "property." Avoid arguing abolishing "minimum wage" laws, as readers would often get shocked of how it might mistakenly yield a return to the "Robber Barons." Avoid any arguments defending Wal-Mart or Standard Oil, which would quickly shun away many readers, and even avoid the word "property."

It works! For a few examples, see Mary Ruwart's Healing Our World, with a free online version.

In her book, all the political philosophies ending in "-ism" do not exist. The term "free-market" does not even exist. The book defines the word "property" only after it argued that non-aggression against the products of the labor would result in fortune. Because her book avoids the semantic game by avoiding potentially conflicting terms, all of her book focuses on pure logic instead of semantics.

By emphasizing only one term--"aggression"--she refutes all the statist proponents without any other words.

However, mistakes encountered during reading includes the refutation of minimum wage placed too early in her book, which might drive away potential converters. Her defense of statist corporate firms such as Standard Oil would almost shun away anyone who opposes the current gas company profits.

Bad marketing practices for promoting Agorism include the promotion on web forums, blog comments, mailing lists and YouTube comments. Agorists consider that the vast quantity of Ron Paul spammers on YouTube damaged "libertarianism," though Ron Paul behaves like a fascist.

Good marketing strategies in promoting Agorism, if one exist, include marketing ideas and books as wide of an audience as possible. Marketers should use copywriting techniques to increase converters of Agorism. The main role of promoting the free market comprises of marketing strategies to spread it. Agorist should engage in marketing the free market.

Semantic links

For links, see:

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I'll have to read more later. I do think we need a mainstream left libertarian somewhere.

I think any word which contains some root of anarchy doesn't further your cause. it has bad associations.

I think bob barr is doing real harm to the libertarian word, along with right libertarians in general.

independent left? liberty left?

I favor the words agrarian justice, geolibertarian, left libertarian, georgist, utilitarian.

we should just steal the utilitarian and pragmatist words since being left libertarianism has the most utility and is the most pragmatic.