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Re: [azsecularhumanists] Re: Dimensions of alliance

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  • thekoba@aztec.asu.edu
    ... Forming alliances based on philosophy rather than tactics is subjective rather than objective, anti-materialist rather than materialist. Obviously if we
    Message 1 of 9 , Dec 17 10:21 PM
      >
      >
      >--- In azsecularhumanists@yahoogroups.com, thekoba@a... wrote:
      >> It is indeed strange how the dialectic of alliances works.
      >> Strictly speaking Communism and Libertarianism are direct
      >> opposites. Yet the Libertarian programme, if sincerely
      >> pursued, is a sure way to wreck imperialism and seriously
      >> disrupt American capitalism, and these people are far better
      >> allies than the Democrats or social-democrats, for all their
      >> left-sounding ideology that masks pro-imperialist deeds.
      >
      >There are many dimensions upon which to consider whether or not
      >someone is an ally, but I tend to think the more important ones are
      >philosophical rather than tactical:
      >
      >Collectivism -- Individualism
      >Egoism -- Altruism
      >Social Determinism -- Volition
      >Liberty -- Equality
      >Mysticism -- Materialism
      >Objectivism -- Subjectivism
      >Rationalism -- Traditionalism
      >Empiricism -- Authoritism
      >
      >There are others, of course. Your list may use different words or
      >categories than mine. But the key is that general lables (and I
      >would argue "classes" as well :-) always leave out many dimensions of
      >importance to the individuals involved. For instance, it's clear
      >that libertarians believe in individualism rather than collectivism,
      >and liberty rather than equality (in terms of economic outcome, not
      >legal status). But libertarians are all over the map in terms of
      >mysticism vs. materialism. They tend to be objectivists, egoists,
      >and believers in volition rather than determinism, but not always.
      >Some are very big traditionalists, others are willing to submit
      >everything to rational scrutiny.
      >
      >Communists and libertarians are indeed exact opposites in terms of
      >desired government. But I appear to share a philosophy of
      >materialism and rationalism with at least one communist (you). It is
      >quite interesting to consider how two people who claim to use many of
      >the same intellectual tools arive at entirely different conclusions.
      >
      >--Jason Auvenshine

      Forming alliances based on philosophy rather than tactics is
      subjective rather than objective, anti-materialist rather than
      materialist. Obviously if we have a common goal, regardless of
      the different reasoning by which we come to the conclusion that
      it is a goal, it is wise to act together toward that goal.

      We have a common goal in resisting the war efforts by the
      American government, and this is no transitory goal, as
      American aggression against other countries has been going
      on for many years and seems poised to continue for a while
      with redoubled vigour (whether or not you consider it to be
      imperialism).

      If I want to believe that by resisting this war effort I am
      aiding the anti-imperialist forces, and you want to believe
      it is about bringing peace to the world and ending the use
      of force in policy, and someone else wants to believe it is
      to promote Islam or to promote the interests of the white
      race or the American people, it matters little. We don't have
      to agree on everything or like each other. It does, however,
      behoove us to come to united action. This is where Mr. Renzulli
      is very much mistaken. He would prevent us from working together
      against the war because he thinks I am hindering the American
      war efforts for the wrong reasons. Objectively that kind of
      action can only hinder the peace movement, because there are
      many more people than myself who oppose the war but may differ
      with his reasoning and whose views may be offensive to him.

      Apart from him, I'm sure there are others who don't like my
      motives. I'm sure David Duke doesn't care for Communists, and
      I'm sure thare are some people in al-Qaida who don't care for
      atheists. When I have taken the case for unity of the anti-
      war struggle to the Aryan Nations website, I am criticized for
      not being sufficiently racist. For all that, we are on the
      same side, pacifists, anarchists, Libertarians, Communists,
      Nazis, skinheads, al-Qaida, Hezbollah, the PFLP, and many
      others.

      --Kevin
    • auvenj <auvenj@mailcity.com>
      ... It is neither subjective nor anti-materialist. In this case, the objective success of the goal hinges upon the attraction of large numbers of the general
      Message 2 of 9 , Dec 18 10:11 PM
        --- In azsecularhumanists@yahoogroups.com, thekoba@a... wrote:
        > Forming alliances based on philosophy rather than tactics is
        > subjective rather than objective, anti-materialist rather than
        > materialist. Obviously if we have a common goal, regardless of
        > the different reasoning by which we come to the conclusion that
        > it is a goal, it is wise to act together toward that goal.

        It is neither subjective nor anti-materialist. In this case, the
        objective success of the goal hinges upon the attraction of large
        numbers of the general public, who themselves may be (subjectively)
        revolted by certain philosophical positions. Using David Duke as an
        example: if, because of his philosophy, he is objectively likely to
        drive away more potential supporters than he brings, then it is
        objectively harmful to make alliance with him even if he has the same
        goal. I may disagree with, but cannot control, the subjectivity of
        the general populace.

        > We have a common goal in resisting the war efforts by the
        > American government, and this is no transitory goal, as
        > American aggression against other countries has been going
        > on for many years and seems poised to continue for a while
        > with redoubled vigour (whether or not you consider it to be
        > imperialism).

        In this aspect, you are correct. We do have a common goal there and
        it is not transitory. However, I view it as less important than
        other goals upon which we disagree.

        > If I want to believe that by resisting this war effort I am
        > aiding the anti-imperialist forces, and you want to believe
        > it is about bringing peace to the world and ending the use
        > of force in policy, and someone else wants to believe it is
        > to promote Islam or to promote the interests of the white
        > race or the American people, it matters little. We don't have
        > to agree on everything or like each other. It does, however,
        > behoove us to come to united action. This is where Mr. Renzulli
        > is very much mistaken. He would prevent us from working together
        > against the war because he thinks I am hindering the American
        > war efforts for the wrong reasons. Objectively that kind of
        > action can only hinder the peace movement, because there are
        > many more people than myself who oppose the war but may differ
        > with his reasoning and whose views may be offensive to him.
        >
        > Apart from him, I'm sure there are others who don't like my
        > motives. I'm sure David Duke doesn't care for Communists, and
        > I'm sure thare are some people in al-Qaida who don't care for
        > atheists. When I have taken the case for unity of the anti-
        > war struggle to the Aryan Nations website, I am criticized for
        > not being sufficiently racist. For all that, we are on the
        > same side, pacifists, anarchists, Libertarians, Communists,
        > Nazis, skinheads, al-Qaida, Hezbollah, the PFLP, and many
        > others.

        I am interested in the motives of potential allies for two reasons:
        (1) The possibility that members of the general public will react
        negatively to the movement if it becomes associated with those
        motives. (Which is a polite way of saying that the public generally
        believes in "guilt by association", even if I don't.)
        (2) The possibility that in the act of alliance for one goal I may
        expose one of my other goals to damage it would not otherwise be
        exposed to. (Which is a polite way of saying that I don't trust
        people who don't believe I have a right not to be killed.) :-)

        Given that we live in different cities it's unlikely, but possible,
        that we could end up in the same peace demonstration at some point.
        And, as I've mentioned before, I would not attempt to keep you from
        demonstrating along side of me. However, that is not what I would
        consider to be an alliance. That's simply tolerance when two people
        who happen to share a goal bump into each other in the furtherance of
        that goal.

        --Jason Auvenshine
      • thekoba@aztec.asu.edu
        ... Public prejudice is indeed an objective reality, but appeasing it rather than correcting it only leads down the slippery slope of tailing the masses and
        Message 3 of 9 , Dec 20 9:35 PM
          >
          >--- In azsecularhumanists@yahoogroups.com, thekoba@a... wrote:
          >> Forming alliances based on philosophy rather than tactics is
          >> subjective rather than objective, anti-materialist rather than
          >> materialist. Obviously if we have a common goal, regardless of
          >> the different reasoning by which we come to the conclusion that
          >> it is a goal, it is wise to act together toward that goal.
          >
          >It is neither subjective nor anti-materialist. In this case, the
          >objective success of the goal hinges upon the attraction of large
          >numbers of the general public, who themselves may be (subjectively)
          >revolted by certain philosophical positions. Using David Duke as an
          >example: if, because of his philosophy, he is objectively likely to
          >drive away more potential supporters than he brings, then it is
          >objectively harmful to make alliance with him even if he has the same
          >goal. I may disagree with, but cannot control, the subjectivity of
          >the general populace.
          >
          >> We have a common goal in resisting the war efforts by the
          >> American government, and this is no transitory goal, as
          >> American aggression against other countries has been going
          >> on for many years and seems poised to continue for a while
          >> with redoubled vigour (whether or not you consider it to be
          >> imperialism).
          >
          >In this aspect, you are correct. We do have a common goal there and
          >it is not transitory. However, I view it as less important than
          >other goals upon which we disagree.
          >
          >> If I want to believe that by resisting this war effort I am
          >> aiding the anti-imperialist forces, and you want to believe
          >> it is about bringing peace to the world and ending the use
          >> of force in policy, and someone else wants to believe it is
          >> to promote Islam or to promote the interests of the white
          >> race or the American people, it matters little. We don't have
          >> to agree on everything or like each other. It does, however,
          >> behoove us to come to united action. This is where Mr. Renzulli
          >> is very much mistaken. He would prevent us from working together
          >> against the war because he thinks I am hindering the American
          >> war efforts for the wrong reasons. Objectively that kind of
          >> action can only hinder the peace movement, because there are
          >> many more people than myself who oppose the war but may differ
          >> with his reasoning and whose views may be offensive to him.
          >>
          >> Apart from him, I'm sure there are others who don't like my
          >> motives. I'm sure David Duke doesn't care for Communists, and
          >> I'm sure thare are some people in al-Qaida who don't care for
          >> atheists. When I have taken the case for unity of the anti-
          >> war struggle to the Aryan Nations website, I am criticized for
          >> not being sufficiently racist. For all that, we are on the
          >> same side, pacifists, anarchists, Libertarians, Communists,
          >> Nazis, skinheads, al-Qaida, Hezbollah, the PFLP, and many
          >> others.
          >
          >I am interested in the motives of potential allies for two reasons:
          >(1) The possibility that members of the general public will react
          >negatively to the movement if it becomes associated with those
          >motives. (Which is a polite way of saying that the public generally
          >believes in "guilt by association", even if I don't.)
          >(2) The possibility that in the act of alliance for one goal I may
          >expose one of my other goals to damage it would not otherwise be
          >exposed to. (Which is a polite way of saying that I don't trust
          >people who don't believe I have a right not to be killed.) :-)
          >
          >Given that we live in different cities it's unlikely, but possible,
          >that we could end up in the same peace demonstration at some point.
          >And, as I've mentioned before, I would not attempt to keep you from
          >demonstrating along side of me. However, that is not what I would
          >consider to be an alliance. That's simply tolerance when two people
          >who happen to share a goal bump into each other in the furtherance of
          >that goal.
          >
          >--Jason Auvenshine

          Public prejudice is indeed an objective reality, but appeasing it
          rather than correcting it only leads down the slippery slope of
          tailing the masses and pulling your position closer to the establishment
          position rather than pulling the people's position closer to yours.
          As for not trusting those who don't think you have a right not to
          be killed, obviously someone with a common goal with you would have
          no reason to have you killed. On the contrary, such a person would
          have reason to defend you.

          --Kevin
        • auvenj <auvenj@mailcity.com>
          ... establishment ... There is a significant difference between appeasing public perception concerning the true nature and consequences of your own ideas, and
          Message 4 of 9 , Jan 2, 2003
            --- In azsecularhumanists@yahoogroups.com, thekoba@a... wrote:
            > Public prejudice is indeed an objective reality, but appeasing it
            > rather than correcting it only leads down the slippery slope of
            > tailing the masses and pulling your position closer to the
            establishment
            > position rather than pulling the people's position closer to yours.

            There is a significant difference between appeasing public perception
            concerning the true nature and consequences of your own ideas, and
            the avoidance of negative public perception resulting from other
            people's ideas that you DON'T agree with. I'll gladly take the
            public perception hit for being associated with the unpopular idea of
            total separation of school and state because it's an idea that I
            truly agree with. I'll do everything possible to avoid taking the
            public perception hit for being associated with the unpopular idea
            that the 9/11 hijackers were heros, because that is an idea I find
            repulsive.

            > As for not trusting those who don't think you have a right not to
            > be killed, obviously someone with a common goal with you would have
            > no reason to have you killed. On the contrary, such a person would
            > have reason to defend you.

            Not if the goal that we have in common is less important than the
            goals regarding which we are opposed, or if my usefulness to you in
            furthering the goals we have in common is less than my harmfulness to
            you in furthering the goals regarding which we are opposed.

            --Jason Auvenshine
          • thekoba@aztec.asu.edu
            ... That notion only leads to breach of unity. No one is expecting you to defend or even refrain from criticizing an idea with which you disagree. What is
            Message 5 of 9 , Jan 2, 2003
              >
              >--- In azsecularhumanists@yahoogroups.com, thekoba@a... wrote:
              >> Public prejudice is indeed an objective reality, but appeasing it
              >> rather than correcting it only leads down the slippery slope of
              >> tailing the masses and pulling your position closer to the
              >establishment
              >> position rather than pulling the people's position closer to yours.
              >
              >There is a significant difference between appeasing public perception
              >concerning the true nature and consequences of your own ideas, and
              >the avoidance of negative public perception resulting from other
              >people's ideas that you DON'T agree with. I'll gladly take the
              >public perception hit for being associated with the unpopular idea of
              >total separation of school and state because it's an idea that I
              >truly agree with. I'll do everything possible to avoid taking the
              >public perception hit for being associated with the unpopular idea
              >that the 9/11 hijackers were heros, because that is an idea I find
              >repulsive.

              That notion only leads to breach of unity. No one is expecting you to
              defend or even refrain from criticizing an idea with which you disagree.
              What is expected is that we recognize our common interest and act
              together. If the public has a negative reaction to the concept of
              alliances with those with whom we have disagreements, we definitely
              need to struggle against that concept and the whole concept of "guilt
              by association" in general. I do as much for David Duke, though I disagree
              with many of his ideas. I do the same for you, and I'll do the same for
              pacifists and Islamic fundamentalists.

              The founding fathers, whose views were far closer to Libertarianism
              than they were to Communism, said "We must all hang together or we will
              surely hang separately." We may be facing the same peril. The major
              enemy we face, even if you prefer not to call it imperialism, is very
              powerful and no more respect for your life than for mine if we get in
              the way of its wars.

              >> As for not trusting those who don't think you have a right not to
              >> be killed, obviously someone with a common goal with you would have
              >> no reason to have you killed. On the contrary, such a person would
              >> have reason to defend you.
              >
              >Not if the goal that we have in common is less important than the
              >goals regarding which we are opposed, or if my usefulness to you in
              >furthering the goals we have in common is less than my harmfulness to
              >you in furthering the goals regarding which we are opposed.

              I can assure you that what we have in common is far more important than
              that in which we are opposed (for the time being, and for quite a long
              while). Any actions you take to oppose the ability of the government
              to make war are extremely useful. If you do it on the basis of promoting
              private property and destroying the government, that's fine also. I agree
              that the government needs destroying. If we succeed in destroying that
              government, then we become enemies, but that won't be for a very long time.
              Then again, if you still think I can't be trusted, whom will you trust
              as an ally? Mr. Bush? Or do you think you can accomplish much against
              the war in a fragmented state?
            • auvenj <auvenj@mailcity.com>
              ... perception ... of ... You cannot breach something that does not exist. ... disagree. ... I suppose such behavior is indeed expected by collectivists. It
              Message 6 of 9 , Jan 3, 2003
                --- In azsecularhumanists@yahoogroups.com, thekoba@a... wrote:
                > >There is a significant difference between appeasing public
                perception
                > >concerning the true nature and consequences of your own ideas, and
                > >the avoidance of negative public perception resulting from other
                > >people's ideas that you DON'T agree with. I'll gladly take the
                > >public perception hit for being associated with the unpopular idea
                of
                > >total separation of school and state because it's an idea that I
                > >truly agree with. I'll do everything possible to avoid taking the
                > >public perception hit for being associated with the unpopular idea
                > >that the 9/11 hijackers were heros, because that is an idea I find
                > >repulsive.
                >
                > That notion only leads to breach of unity.

                You cannot breach something that does not exist.

                > No one is expecting you to
                > defend or even refrain from criticizing an idea with which you
                disagree.
                > What is expected is that we recognize our common interest and act
                > together.

                I suppose such behavior is indeed expected by collectivists. It is
                not expected by individualists such as myself unless the interests we
                have in common are significantly more important than the interests we
                are in opposition over.

                > If the public has a negative reaction to the concept of
                > alliances with those with whom we have disagreements, we definitely
                > need to struggle against that concept and the whole concept
                of "guilt
                > by association" in general. I do as much for David Duke, though I
                disagree
                > with many of his ideas. I do the same for you, and I'll do the
                same for
                > pacifists and Islamic fundamentalists.

                A struggle against the concept of guilt by association is far less
                important to me than a struggle against the concept of acceptable
                initiation of force.

                > The founding fathers, whose views were far closer to Libertarianism
                > than they were to Communism, said "We must all hang together or we
                will
                > surely hang separately." We may be facing the same peril.

                The founding fathers were relatively Libertarian when compared to
                modern Americans or Communists. However, they made several fatal
                errors for which Americans and the world have been paying ever
                since. They declared as "self-evident truths" matters about which
                anyone with an open mind and a room temperature IQ or above can see
                require evidence and reason to derive, even if true. They claimed as
                self-evident truth the demonstrably false assertion that all men are
                created equal, an error that is even remotely excusable only by
                understanding its context - their intention was primarily to reject
                the concept of the divine right of kings. Then, after making such
                bold declarations of supposedly self-evident truths they proceeded to
                contradict their own statements repeatedly and egregiously, by
                instituting in law slavery, taxation, and other forms of non-
                consentual, rights-infinging government.

                The "hang together" comment was made in the primary context of an
                armed rebellion rather than a primarily public opinion campaign such
                as the peace movement is now engaged. The effectiveness of many
                individuals or small but highly cohesive groups attempting to
                influence the public is apt to be much higher than the effectiveness
                of a monolithic "peace organization". Individuals and small groups
                don't waste time and resources on political battles over strategy and
                tactics like large groups do, particularly when large groups are
                composed of people with widely divergent views on matters they
                consider to be extremely important.

                Furthermore, the reality of the need for even the founding fathers
                to "hang together" is of dubious historical validity. Most of the
                revolutionary battles against the British by the regular military
                were failures for the rebels. It was the independant militias (who
                had no need to "hang together" with more than a small group of like-
                minded individuals) who really gave the Brits hell and won the
                American revolution.

                > The major
                > enemy we face, even if you prefer not to call it imperialism, is
                very
                > powerful and no more respect for your life than for mine if we get
                in
                > the way of its wars.

                I agree. We disagree about the most effective way to oppose it.

                > >> As for not trusting those who don't think you have a right not to
                > >> be killed, obviously someone with a common goal with you would
                have
                > >> no reason to have you killed. On the contrary, such a person
                would
                > >> have reason to defend you.
                > >
                > >Not if the goal that we have in common is less important than the
                > >goals regarding which we are opposed, or if my usefulness to you
                in
                > >furthering the goals we have in common is less than my harmfulness
                to
                > >you in furthering the goals regarding which we are opposed.
                >
                > I can assure you that what we have in common is far more important
                than
                > that in which we are opposed (for the time being, and for quite a
                long
                > while). Any actions you take to oppose the ability of the
                government
                > to make war are extremely useful.

                So...you essentially agree with my statement; you just wish to
                convince me that I'm really, REALLY useful to you for the forseeable
                future by opposing Iraq and US military aggression in general, so I
                really don't have anyting to worry about. And I'm saying, I don't
                trust people as "allies" who think like that.

                > If you do it on the basis of promoting
                > private property and destroying the government, that's fine also.
                I agree
                > that the government needs destroying.

                I am not out to destroy the US government per se, I am simply out to
                get it to stop initiating force against myself and others. You may
                argue that this is mere semantics, since such a change would
                effectively end the government "as we know it." While this is true,
                the real difference lies in the focus of my activity. I am
                interested in changing the ACTIONS that are taken by the US
                government, not in destroying it as an entity or the individuals that
                make it up.

                > If we succeed in destroying that
                > government, then we become enemies, but that won't be for a very
                long time.
                > Then again, if you still think I can't be trusted, whom will you
                trust
                > as an ally? Mr. Bush?

                I have a more than ample source of allies in Objectivists and
                Libertarians for the projects which I choose to undertake.

                > Or do you think you can accomplish much against
                > the war in a fragmented state?

                Actually, yes.

                What you are suggesting is that a big alliance exist, made up of
                Christians, Islamists, Atheists, Libertarians, Communists, Racists,
                Isolationists, Pacifists, etc. etc. all who share the goal of our
                government NOT invading Iraq.

                Suppose that such a group exists and I decide it would be beneficial
                to have a big peace march down Broadway. So I speak to my local head
                honcho of "Peaceniks, Inc." who magnanimously agrees to bring up the
                idea at the next big honchos meeting. Whereupon the topic of the
                protest is hashed out:
                The Pacifists insist that the official stance of the group should be
                that no one coming to the protest is to be armed. After all, even if
                you're not a pacifist, being armed could get the organization in
                trouble with the law. This pisses off the Libertarians, who insist
                on coming armed.
                Most of the people think Sunday is the best day for the march, but
                this pisses off the Christians because Sunday is the day of rest, not
                political marching. The Atheists in the crowd call that silly before
                the gavel comes down for order.
                And so it goes, on and on. These issues and others are hashed over
                time out in some kind of political/voting process, which is itself
                subject to much consternation and wrangling.
                And of course the inevitable fed mole in the group makes note of
                exactly what plans are decided upon, who's coming and who's not, how
                to drive a wedge in the group, which leaders need to be arrested on
                trumped up charges beforehand to have the most impact, etc.

                What we end up with is a peace march, which some people go to and
                some people don't, but also some people driven away permanently
                because they were "losers" in the internal battles that raged over
                the mechanics, tactics, and strategies. If you don't think this
                happens in real organizations...you haven't seen many real
                organizations. :-)

                As an alternative, I propose that the Christians, Islamists,
                Atheists, Libertarians, Communists, Racists, Isolationists,
                Pacifists, etc. etc. not view themselves as "allies" at all, and not
                form any kind of umbrella peace organization.

                If I think there should be a peace march down Broadway, then I simply
                tell everyone I know and post to the internet lists that I'm going to
                be marching down Broadway at such-and-such day and time with a sign
                advocating that the US not invade Iraq, and anyone who agrees that
                the US shouldn't invade Iraq is asked to consider walking down the
                same street at the same time with a similar sign, and publicize the
                date and time to folks they know. If I picked a particularly bad
                time, then maybe I walk down Broadway alone. :-) But unless I'm a
                moron in my choices or tell very few people, more than likely what we
                end up with is also a peace march, which some people go to and some
                people don't. But there are a number of upsides to my approach:
                Neither I nor anyone else wastes any time in political wrangling
                over the details of what to do.
                No one is driven away from peace activism by feeling that they lost
                some political battle or had their core values trampled by those who
                don't share them. If the Christians don't want to come because it's
                a Sunday, maybe one of them decides to have a march down Broadway the
                following Saturday. This is a good thing.
                There is no group of "head honchos" for the feds to target and
                arrest or smear with bad publicity. Anyone can do what I did and
                call a march or any other activity.
                There is NO organization name to target with bad publicity. I'm
                just an individual who decided to walk down the street carrying a
                sign, and some people decided to show up and walk at the same time.
                If one of them is a Racist, or a Communist, or an anything-else-the-
                media-hates-ist, so what? We aren't associated.
                And what if, uh-oh, some people/groups who are in FAVOR of the war
                find out and decide to walk carrying pro-war signs? So much the
                better, as it reinforces the idea that the issue is under fierce
                debate, and that there is not a cohesive organization to be tarred
                with one brush. Plus it's likely to attract more media.

                And this hypothetical situation is a MARCH, which is about as
                collective an action as is needed in the peace movement. Letters to
                the Editor, Signing/stickering public places, one-on-one persuasion,
                etc. are all even better suited to individual/small group initiative
                than they are to a unified organization.

                I suspect you will argue that the cohesive approach will still be
                more effective than the fragmented approach. That just leads us
                right back to the whole collectivist/individualist disagreement that
                underlies our communism/capitalism discussion. This is why I made
                the original statement that philosophical differences _are_ important
                in making alliances. Ideas matter, at least as much if not more than
                interests and goals. I am quite convinced that my activities are far
                more effective if you and I make no alliance, and the coordination of
                our activities does not extend beyond perhaps walking down a street
                at the same time and place (and maybe then only if I'm armed :-).
                This is based on my understanding about how human interactions best
                function, just as your call for universal alliance is based on your
                understanding of the same. The mere fact that we are having this
                discussion is ample evidence to me that an alliance/coordination
                between us would be very ill advised.

                --Jason Auvenshine
              • thekoba@aztec.asu.edu
                ... Then let us say it prevents unity. ... Which they are. ... The struggle against the concept of guilt by association will aid your struggle against the
                Message 7 of 9 , Jan 3, 2003
                  >> >There is a significant difference between appeasing public
                  >perception
                  >> >concerning the true nature and consequences of your own ideas, and
                  >> >the avoidance of negative public perception resulting from other
                  >> >people's ideas that you DON'T agree with. I'll gladly take the
                  >> >public perception hit for being associated with the unpopular idea
                  >of
                  >> >total separation of school and state because it's an idea that I
                  >> >truly agree with. I'll do everything possible to avoid taking the
                  >> >public perception hit for being associated with the unpopular idea
                  >> >that the 9/11 hijackers were heros, because that is an idea I find
                  >> >repulsive.
                  >>
                  >> That notion only leads to breach of unity.
                  >
                  >You cannot breach something that does not exist.

                  Then let us say it prevents unity.

                  >> No one is expecting you to
                  >> defend or even refrain from criticizing an idea with which you
                  >disagree.
                  >> What is expected is that we recognize our common interest and act
                  >> together.
                  >
                  >I suppose such behavior is indeed expected by collectivists. It is
                  >not expected by individualists such as myself unless the interests we
                  >have in common are significantly more important than the interests we
                  >are in opposition over.

                  Which they are.

                  >> If the public has a negative reaction to the concept of
                  >> alliances with those with whom we have disagreements, we definitely
                  >> need to struggle against that concept and the whole concept
                  >of "guilt
                  >> by association" in general. I do as much for David Duke, though I
                  >disagree
                  >> with many of his ideas. I do the same for you, and I'll do the
                  >same for
                  >> pacifists and Islamic fundamentalists.
                  >
                  >A struggle against the concept of guilt by association is far less
                  >important to me than a struggle against the concept of acceptable
                  >initiation of force.

                  The struggle against the concept of guilt by association will aid
                  your struggle against the concept of acceptable initiation of force
                  at least in as much as it will hinder the ability of the USA to wage
                  war.

                  >> The founding fathers, whose views were far closer to Libertarianism
                  >> than they were to Communism, said "We must all hang together or we
                  >will
                  >> surely hang separately." We may be facing the same peril.
                  >
                  >The founding fathers were relatively Libertarian when compared to
                  >modern Americans or Communists. However, they made several fatal
                  >errors for which Americans and the world have been paying ever
                  >since. They declared as "self-evident truths" matters about which
                  >anyone with an open mind and a room temperature IQ or above can see
                  >require evidence and reason to derive, even if true. They claimed as
                  >self-evident truth the demonstrably false assertion that all men are
                  >created equal, an error that is even remotely excusable only by
                  >understanding its context - their intention was primarily to reject
                  >the concept of the divine right of kings. Then, after making such
                  >bold declarations of supposedly self-evident truths they proceeded to
                  >contradict their own statements repeatedly and egregiously, by
                  >instituting in law slavery, taxation, and other forms of non-
                  >consentual, rights-infinging government.

                  True, there were many internal contradictions in these documents.

                  >The "hang together" comment was made in the primary context of an
                  >armed rebellion rather than a primarily public opinion campaign such
                  >as the peace movement is now engaged. The effectiveness of many
                  >individuals or small but highly cohesive groups attempting to
                  >influence the public is apt to be much higher than the effectiveness
                  >of a monolithic "peace organization". Individuals and small groups
                  >don't waste time and resources on political battles over strategy and
                  >tactics like large groups do, particularly when large groups are
                  >composed of people with widely divergent views on matters they
                  >consider to be extremely important.
                  >
                  >Furthermore, the reality of the need for even the founding fathers
                  >to "hang together" is of dubious historical validity. Most of the
                  >revolutionary battles against the British by the regular military
                  >were failures for the rebels. It was the independant militias (who
                  >had no need to "hang together" with more than a small group of like-
                  >minded individuals) who really gave the Brits hell and won the
                  >American revolution.

                  True, but the small militias acted together. If one had chosen to
                  rebel in 1775 and another in 1777 and another was more patient and
                  waited until 1785, it's doubtful they would have been as successful.

                  >> The major
                  >> enemy we face, even if you prefer not to call it imperialism, is
                  >very
                  >> powerful and no more respect for your life than for mine if we get
                  >in
                  >> the way of its wars.
                  >
                  >I agree. We disagree about the most effective way to oppose it.
                  >
                  >> >> As for not trusting those who don't think you have a right not to
                  >> >> be killed, obviously someone with a common goal with you would
                  >have
                  >> >> no reason to have you killed. On the contrary, such a person
                  >would
                  >> >> have reason to defend you.
                  >> >
                  >> >Not if the goal that we have in common is less important than the
                  >> >goals regarding which we are opposed, or if my usefulness to you
                  >in
                  >> >furthering the goals we have in common is less than my harmfulness
                  >to
                  >> >you in furthering the goals regarding which we are opposed.
                  >>
                  >> I can assure you that what we have in common is far more important
                  >than
                  >> that in which we are opposed (for the time being, and for quite a
                  >long
                  >> while). Any actions you take to oppose the ability of the
                  >government
                  >> to make war are extremely useful.
                  >
                  >So...you essentially agree with my statement; you just wish to
                  >convince me that I'm really, REALLY useful to you for the forseeable
                  >future by opposing Iraq and US military aggression in general, so I
                  >really don't have anyting to worry about. And I'm saying, I don't
                  >trust people as "allies" who think like that.

                  I don't understand why you would distrust such allies.

                  >> If you do it on the basis of promoting
                  >> private property and destroying the government, that's fine also.
                  >I agree
                  >> that the government needs destroying.
                  >
                  >I am not out to destroy the US government per se, I am simply out to
                  >get it to stop initiating force against myself and others. You may
                  >argue that this is mere semantics, since such a change would
                  >effectively end the government "as we know it." While this is true,
                  >the real difference lies in the focus of my activity. I am
                  >interested in changing the ACTIONS that are taken by the US
                  >government, not in destroying it as an entity or the individuals that
                  >make it up.

                  You will. If you succeed in ending taxes, you will destroy the
                  government.

                  >> If we succeed in destroying that
                  >> government, then we become enemies, but that won't be for a very
                  >long time.
                  >> Then again, if you still think I can't be trusted, whom will you
                  >trust
                  >> as an ally? Mr. Bush?
                  >
                  >I have a more than ample source of allies in Objectivists and
                  >Libertarians for the projects which I choose to undertake.
                  >
                  >> Or do you think you can accomplish much against
                  >> the war in a fragmented state?
                  >
                  >Actually, yes.
                  >
                  >What you are suggesting is that a big alliance exist, made up of
                  >Christians, Islamists, Atheists, Libertarians, Communists, Racists,
                  >Isolationists, Pacifists, etc. etc. all who share the goal of our
                  >government NOT invading Iraq.
                  >
                  >Suppose that such a group exists and I decide it would be beneficial
                  >to have a big peace march down Broadway. So I speak to my local head
                  >honcho of "Peaceniks, Inc." who magnanimously agrees to bring up the
                  >idea at the next big honchos meeting. Whereupon the topic of the
                  >protest is hashed out:
                  > The Pacifists insist that the official stance of the group should be
                  >that no one coming to the protest is to be armed. After all, even if
                  >you're not a pacifist, being armed could get the organization in
                  >trouble with the law. This pisses off the Libertarians, who insist
                  >on coming armed.
                  > Most of the people think Sunday is the best day for the march, but
                  >this pisses off the Christians because Sunday is the day of rest, not
                  >political marching. The Atheists in the crowd call that silly before
                  >the gavel comes down for order.
                  > And so it goes, on and on. These issues and others are hashed over
                  >time out in some kind of political/voting process, which is itself
                  >subject to much consternation and wrangling.
                  > And of course the inevitable fed mole in the group makes note of
                  >exactly what plans are decided upon, who's coming and who's not, how
                  >to drive a wedge in the group, which leaders need to be arrested on
                  >trumped up charges beforehand to have the most impact, etc.
                  >
                  >What we end up with is a peace march, which some people go to and
                  >some people don't, but also some people driven away permanently
                  >because they were "losers" in the internal battles that raged over
                  >the mechanics, tactics, and strategies. If you don't think this
                  >happens in real organizations...you haven't seen many real
                  >organizations. :-)

                  I know this happens. Nonetheless despite these struggles these large
                  demonstrations are possible and are effective, and demonstrations are
                  not the only possible activities.

                  >As an alternative, I propose that the Christians, Islamists,
                  >Atheists, Libertarians, Communists, Racists, Isolationists,
                  >Pacifists, etc. etc. not view themselves as "allies" at all, and not
                  >form any kind of umbrella peace organization.
                  >
                  >If I think there should be a peace march down Broadway, then I simply
                  >tell everyone I know and post to the internet lists that I'm going to
                  >be marching down Broadway at such-and-such day and time with a sign
                  >advocating that the US not invade Iraq, and anyone who agrees that
                  >the US shouldn't invade Iraq is asked to consider walking down the
                  >same street at the same time with a similar sign, and publicize the
                  >date and time to folks they know. If I picked a particularly bad
                  >time, then maybe I walk down Broadway alone. :-) But unless I'm a
                  >moron in my choices or tell very few people, more than likely what we
                  >end up with is also a peace march, which some people go to and some
                  >people don't. But there are a number of upsides to my approach:
                  > Neither I nor anyone else wastes any time in political wrangling
                  >over the details of what to do.

                  The major disadvantage is the poor communication power of the
                  individual as opposed to the large ability of a large group to
                  get out the message. Another disadvantage is that this approach
                  disperses the efforts. You have several tiny demonstrations instead
                  of one large one.

                  > No one is driven away from peace activism by feeling that they lost
                  >some political battle or had their core values trampled by those who
                  >don't share them.

                  Nor would anyone be driven away by the alliance approach. Sure they
                  might be driven from the alliance itself, but if they are determined
                  to engage in activism, they will do it as individuals anyway.

                  >If the Christians don't want to come because it's
                  >a Sunday, maybe one of them decides to have a march down Broadway the
                  >following Saturday. This is a good thing.
                  > There is no group of "head honchos" for the feds to target and
                  >arrest or smear with bad publicity. Anyone can do what I did and
                  >call a march or any other activity.
                  > There is NO organization name to target with bad publicity. I'm
                  >just an individual who decided to walk down the street carrying a
                  >sign, and some people decided to show up and walk at the same time.
                  >If one of them is a Racist, or a Communist, or an anything-else-the-
                  >media-hates-ist, so what? We aren't associated.
                  > And what if, uh-oh, some people/groups who are in FAVOR of the war
                  >find out and decide to walk carrying pro-war signs? So much the
                  >better, as it reinforces the idea that the issue is under fierce
                  >debate, and that there is not a cohesive organization to be tarred
                  >with one brush. Plus it's likely to attract more media.

                  Tiny fragmented demonstrations are certainly not likely to attract
                  media and are less of a threat to the establishment. Further, if
                  they are still enough of a threat, it is easier for the establishment
                  to get away with suppressing several tiny demonstrations rather
                  than one large one.

                  >And this hypothetical situation is a MARCH, which is about as
                  >collective an action as is needed in the peace movement. Letters to
                  >the Editor, Signing/stickering public places, one-on-one persuasion,
                  >etc. are all even better suited to individual/small group initiative
                  >than they are to a unified organization.

                  No, collective activity is more effective in mass mobilization. There
                  are only so many people even the most determined and dedicated
                  individual can reach.

                  >I suspect you will argue that the cohesive approach will still be
                  >more effective than the fragmented approach. That just leads us
                  >right back to the whole collectivist/individualist disagreement that
                  >underlies our communism/capitalism discussion. This is why I made
                  >the original statement that philosophical differences _are_ important
                  >in making alliances. Ideas matter, at least as much if not more than
                  >interests and goals. I am quite convinced that my activities are far
                  >more effective if you and I make no alliance, and the coordination of
                  >our activities does not extend beyond perhaps walking down a street
                  >at the same time and place (and maybe then only if I'm armed :-).
                  >This is based on my understanding about how human interactions best
                  >function, just as your call for universal alliance is based on your
                  >understanding of the same. The mere fact that we are having this
                  >discussion is ample evidence to me that an alliance/coordination
                  >between us would be very ill advised.

                  On the contrary, such open criticism and self-criticism is very
                  healthy for an alliance. It is good that we have this discussion
                  and certainly is not evidence that an alliance would be unsuitable.
                  If you want to be armed when engaged in activities, I encourage it.
                  If it is because you are more afraid of me than of the establishment,
                  it shows you do not have a materialist understanding of where our
                  interests lie, but nonetheless I have no objection.

                  --Kevin
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