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Re: [azsecularhumanists] Re: Dimensions of alliance

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  • 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 1 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 2 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 3 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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