Our official editorial policy

The Center has now officially adopted a formal editorial policy. This policy reflects the outcome of careful discussion among various stakeholders. Although we expect it to be subject to intermittent revision, based on the continuous feedback we receive, the general expectation is that the overall sentiment and approach expressed will guide our editorial practices for the foreseeable future. It is offered both to guide our staff and volunteers as well as inform potential supporters.

The policy is published here and it is anticipated that any future revisions will be published on the same page. Links to it can be found on our About the Center page and our Writer’s Guide.

The policy reads as follows:

The Center for a Stateless Society commissions and distributes media content designed to challenge the state: to undermine the false perception of its legitimacy, demonstrate its irrelevance to truly solving social and economic problems, and encourage its abolition. At no time will any Center publication implicitly or explicitly support the state’s continuation or augmentation.

The Center’s publications will convey a positive vision of voluntary, peaceful cooperation as the basis for flourishing life in society: they will seek to foster not only the free exchange of goods and services but also the many other kinds of voluntary interaction that help to make social existence viable and attractive. Thus, they will urge the abolition of all those privileges that impede peaceful cooperation, while unequivocally rejecting the privilege-riddled capitalism so frequently mistaken for a genuinely freed market. And they will help to realize a culture free from authoritarianism, exclusion, and deprivation—whether effected and sustained violently or non-violently—as well as aggressive violence.

The Center will emphasize education, direct action, and the construction of alternative institutions, rather than electoral politics, as strategies for achieving liberation.

While its basic commitments will be consistently embodied in the Center’s publications, not every Center author will embrace all of them, and the Center’s core values are reflected in part in its willingness to publish the work of a broad range of thinkers who oppose the state and who value economic and cultural freedom.

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32 thoughts on “Our official editorial policy

  1. Mr. Spangler, gentlemen editors, and all readers of c4ss who hold their ideas in earnest,
    If I understand it correctly, this "editorial policy" is more than just a statement of principles. It seems to me to be an acceptance of violence in the overthrow of all states without distinction.
    True, an argument could be made that the libertarian rejection of violence contained a caveat wide enough to drive an explosive truck through: The caveat of self-defense.
    But in this document I see no statement of this libertarian principle, caveat or no. You go beyond the transparent code word "direct action," which has always signified violence, to frankly state that your goals may be "effected and sustained violently."
    You are crossing a fearful divide. Have I understood your meaning? If so, I can only say with Cromwell, "I beseech you, in the bowels of Christ, think it possible you may be mistaken."

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    1. Considering the structure of the specific sentence in question — "And they will help to realize a culture free from authoritarianism, exclusion, and deprivation—whether effected and sustained violently or non-violently—as well as aggressive violence." — the violence referred to in the inset is modifying "authoritarianism, exclusion, and deprivation." In other words, the Center's publications will be in opposition to violently- or non-violently-established forms of authoritarianism, exclusion, and deprivation and aggressive violence. Although the structure of the sentence can be misconstrued and misinterpreted, it is not advocating violence of any sort. It might be advisable for this particular sentence to be revised slightly to make the meaning more clear and less likely to be misinterpreted.

      Perhaps a revision along these lines:

      "And they will help to realize a culture free from violently or nonviolently effected and sustained authoritarianism, exclusion, and deprivation as well as aggressive violence."

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  2. Mr. Spangler, gentlemen editors, and all readers of c4ss who hold their ideas in earnest,
    If I understand it correctly, this "editorial policy" is more than just a statement of principles. It seems to me to be an acceptance of violence in th…e overthrow of all states without distinction.
    True, an argument could be made that the libertarian rejection of violence contained a caveat wide enough to drive an explosive truck through: The caveat of self-defense.
    But in this document I see no statement of this libertarian principle, caveat or no. You go beyond the transparent code word "direct action," which has always signified violence, to frankly state that your goals may be "effected and sustained violently."
    You are crossing a fearful divide. Have I understood your meaning? If so, I can only say with Cromwell, "I beseech you, in the bowels of Christ, think it possible you may be mistaken."

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    1. To anarchists, direct action can mean action such as strikes or engaging in activities that are illegal but non-violent, such as smoking pot openly or operating taxis in violation of licensing laws. But perhaps as libertarians we are all so aware we oppose the initiation of violence that we didn't consider the possible lack of clarity in the term to the average reader. It might be worth clarifying the meaning of direct action.

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      1. Your definition of "direct action" is absolutely contrary to its historical meaning and to current usage. The French Action Directe engaged in murder and assassination; the Canadian Direct Action used terrorist bombing; more recent use of the term includes destruction of property and jeopardy to innocents. There is no honest way to use this term without the acceptance of violence as a tool of political action.
        The purpose of this statement of editorial policy is to clarify: It is "formal" and the result of "careful discussion." If your idiosyncratic usage is allowed to stand, then it seems that the authors intended not clarity, but obfuscation. And if that is the case, one is entitled to ask the question: Is this a trial balloon? Is this a device to test whether readers or statist lurkers will tolerate it?

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      2. I don't believe I'm being idiosyncratic. Take a look at the Wikipedia entry on Direct Action at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Direct_action . Martin Luther King and Mahatma Gandhi are listed as advocates of direct action, and examples of non-violent action are included. The term certainly CAN be used honestly by people who are committed to non-violence.

        Nonetheless, I expressed the view that we ought to clarify the ambiguity, so I'm not dismissing your concerns. Like you, I want nothing to do with any organization that promotes violence, whatever the justification. I also know the members of the board well enough to be certain that isn't what they intended. Still, if it is the impression you've drawn, others may do so, and we need direct action to correct it. 😉

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  3. saying that “direct action = violence” is just as ridiculous as saying that “religion = christianity” the first half of the equation is by no means reducible to the second half, and to attempt to do so is to prove ignorance

    some people have used violent means while employing ‘direct action’, but the black panthers school breakfast program was also a form of ‘direct action’, and was quite obviously not violent (hell, they didn’t even discriminate with who they fed, as long as they were going to school)

    direct action is the logical means of accomplishing tasks in anarchism, and probably the logical extention of individualism as well. simply put, it means ‘to do something without intermediaries’. if there are people starving on your street, should you call a pig (policeman), a vulture (politician), or try to help them yourself, possibly with the help of your other neighbors? the first two options involve passing the responsibility on to intermediaries, which is exactly what they thrive on, and the last option is direct action.

    the penny auctions during the last great depression were a beautiful example of this; when people could no longer afford their house and the bank attempted to auction it off, the whole neighborhood would come out and surround the auctioneer to make sure that noone else bid on the house but the original occupant, who could bid for as low as a penny, and keep their home. that is direct action, and it works

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    1. roach: Try the converse ("direct action does not equal violence") and you will immediately see that your definition is absolutely contrary to its historical meaning and to current usage. The French Action Directe engaged in murder and assassination; the Canadian Direct Action used terrorist bombing; more recent use of the term includes destruction of property and jeopardy to innocents. There is no honest way to use this term without the acceptance of violence as a tool of political action.
      The purpose of this statement of editorial policy is to clarify: It is "formal" and the result of "careful discussion." If your idiosyncratic usage is allowed to stand, then it seems that the authors intended not clarity, but obfuscation. And if that is the case, one is entitled to ask the question: Is this a trial balloon? Is this a device to test whether readers or statist lurkers will tolerate it?
      Until the editors re-write this document or at the very least say what they intended, then every reader of this page is entitled to say of them: "qui tacet consentire".

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  4. I agree that in an otherwise inspiring statement and policy the one sentence in question is problematic. So I will address another concern with it other than the very valid point that it should be much clearer that we oppose the initiation of violence in any circumstances whatsoever.

    To wit "And they will help to realize a culture free from authoritarianism, exclusion, and deprivation—whether effected and sustained violently or non-violently—as well as aggressive violence."

    As well as being written in a complex, compound and confusing way unlike the rest of the statement I think it can also be read as either self-contradiction or a very disturbing contradiction with the basic libertarian and anarchist principle of free association.

    There is no moral or ethical ground within anarchism to suppress peaceful and voluntary exclusion (or authoritarianism or deprivation for that matter, but let us focus on the most clear.) The principle of free association demands that if a group of people freely and peacefully choose to associate and cooperate with each other, even *exclusively*, it is outside the ethically and morally permissible boundaries to force them not to do so.

    Let us say that me and some associates voluntarily found a Vegan commune. It is our ethical belief the should eat only with those who are also declared and committed Vegan. We choose peaceably and voluntarily not to cooperate (eat, cook, sit) with those who continue to eat meat or other animal products.

    What business is this of the Center, of anarchists, of libertarians or of any of those who believe in freedom and a free society?

    The *only* forms social action outside of ourselves and our voluntary associates with which we should be concerned are those that are not peaceable (violent, coercive "exclusion"). To oppose non-violent "exclusion" cannot be logically or morally different from *forced* or *coerced* inclusion, and is therefore a violation of the fundamental principle of free association, as well as voluntary cooperation and non-cooperation.

    As a small time supporter of the site (financially) hopefully I will at least minimally qualify as a 'stakeholder' for purposes of the discussion.

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    1. I think there's absolutely no ground within a credible version of anarchism for the use of violence to suppress peaceful and voluntary exclusion. Why suppose, though, that there's no basis for opposing such exclusion peacefully? If a business refuses to serve customers because of their race, I won't use a gun to compel the business to change its policies. But I see nothing incompatible with my commitment to anarchism, and a great deal that is tightly linked with that commitment, about protesting the businesses's decision vigorously, refusing to patronize it, urging others to do so, mocking it on my website, etc.
      My recent post Santa Claus- America’s Most Wanted Fugitive

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      1. Of course none of the tactics described here would be objectionable in a free society.

        My concern would be with the insufficient cultural pluralism (even relativism) implied in such "tightly linked" commitments. Put simply, social arrangements that are oppressive in statist society need not be understood as pernicious in a society free of violence.

        Just as Kevin Carson and others at the Center have argued persuasively that the oppressive characteristics of capitalism arise not from free exchange as such, but from its embedded contextualization within a system of statist privileges and violent aggression (to maintain such privileges)- might there not be a cultural analogy?

        Perhaps the things we see as "exclusionary" in an oppressive sense, or culturally intolerant, are actually only objectionable in a fundamentally unfree context and would take on different meanings in a free, non-violent society. We need not demand- nor even desire- all people in the world share our cultural values, even on issues of gender, sexuality, race, food taboo (to return to the Vegan commune example). What we ought instead oppose is the violent enforcement of these cultural standards, or there opposites. It is not free association that is inherently oppressive (and free association surely must include culturally and ethically motivated voluntary exclusions as well as inclusions) but its context in a statist and aggressively violent society.

        As an anarchist and libertarian (perhaps the term "libertarian anarchist" has some traction vis-a-vis "market anarchist") my commitments emphatically *do not* extend to a perception that my ultimately subjective cultural and ethical values are universally valid, least of all in a putative future free society. It is this very renunciation of absolute knowledge and morality that motivates my fundamental, loadstone belief in the "non aggression principle" stripped even of "propertarian" exceptions.

        As a cosmopolitan, postmodern, first-world, academically oriented 21st C. American I think I share the values that motivate your other commitments. My associations in a free society and in the attempted realization of one would be and are culturally tolerant, nondiscriminatory in the way we understand it, and appreciative of cultural/racial/ethnic/gender/sexual identity diversity. Yet I know others do not share these cultural and ethical values and not only would I not use a gun to enforce my views on them [and would demand they so refrain as well], I also put aside the belief that the culture I envision and enjoy would be in some way superior to a violence free culture of gender roles more traditional that I might like, Christian sexual ethics that I might find objectionable, ethic groups that wish to peaceably maintain isolation from the rest of society, etc.

        If they are all equally free of the initiation of violence, I am not sure on what objective basis I could consider one superior over the other.

        Of course, everyone is free to peaceably convince or incentivize others to take on the cultural and ethical values they feel are important (veganism, abstinence before marriage, dating only within your ethic/religious group, free love associations, et & c). I might rather found a competing business that did cater to all types of people (direct action!) in your example…

        But I fail to see how advocating one of these visions *in particular* as opposed to advocating for the freedom of all to peaceably and voluntarily choose among these options ought to be the mission of the center.

        Why should we assume that there ought to be one particular culture, that we all share the values of such a culture and that we advocate for that particular constellation of subjective ethical/cultural values even in a context of a free society where many different and radically distinct cultures are likely to emerge and flourish?

        In the face of this astounding potential diversity how can a libertarian and anarchist center advocate for one particular set of cultural values over the others?

        Isn't a more appropriate cultural/ethical stance one of pluralism or relativism?

        Ethically/morally as well as "politically": as long as it is peaceful and voluntary!

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    2. About "they will help to realize a culture free from…exclusion":

      Ben Free's suspicion of the phrase quoted is well founded. Were I not free to exclude this or that offensive person*, I would have to submit to her badgering for attention and company, if not also to that of a do-gooder who is anxious to appoint herself as a treatymaker.

      No one, absolutely no one, would be safe in a world dominated by C4SS' misguided vision about exclusion, which at bottom is a policy meant to appeal to whiners now.

      *For example, a couple of Jehovah's witnesses just let themselves into my building one morning in April 2009. They had rung the doorbell, then checked the door which they found to be ajar. Once confronted, scolded, and asked to explain their tresspassing , they ducked, evaded, and dodged my questioning.

      Eventually they left, of course, but not without a deliberate attempt to irritate. "I love you", said the older of those two profoundly childish cultists. Now, just imagine if I had been on the street, instead. C4SS's policy about exclusion would be a license for harassment without end.

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  5. honestly Terry, it sounds like your only knowledge of the concept of direct action is that two groups you disagree with used the term in their names, and kids who like smashing windows (which can be fun but is not too constructive) like using the words sometimes.

    direct action has been a concept used by the anarchist movement since the late 1800’s, and it has been used in reference to both non-violent and violent contexts. In my opinion, it has mostly been used in a non-violent context, though i don’t think that actions strictly against property are ‘violent’ (it’s legally called ‘vandalism’ after all), but even then, most of what has historically fallen under ‘direct action’ in the anarchist movement was not focused on destroying property or harming people, and any attempt at reading anarchist history would confirm that

    another term used by anarchists since the mid to late 1800’s is the word ‘libertarian’, starting at least with Dejaque’s “La Libertaire, Journal du Mouvement Social” in 1858. Since that time, plenty of people have refered to themselves as ‘libertarian’ and also embraced the concept of ‘direct action’.

    -Emma Goldman is an example of someone who used what you would call non-violent means in her ‘direct action’, and refered to herself as ‘libertarian’.

    -Luigi Galleani is an example of someone who used violent means in his direct action (his actions and writings arguably brought about the palmer raids), and also refered to himself as ‘libertarian’ (in italian)

    so yes, ‘direct action’ has always been associated with a ‘mode’ of action (as i said earlier, it simply means to act without intermediaries), and NOT associated with a ‘type’ of action (like a strictly violent action or strictly non-violent action).

    because of this, many people choose to express what they are doing as ‘non-violent direct action’, which you are perfectly welcome to demand out of c4ss (i don’t represent them), and i wouldn’t have a problem with it at all. what i do have a problem with though, is misrepresentations and simplifications of what a concept rich in history and complexity is actually about.

    i could say, for example, that glenn beck calls himself a libertarian, and he’s ignorant and insane, so libertarianism must have something to do with wanting to be ignorant and insane… but that wouldn’t get us anywhere and wouldn’t be a very useful understanding of the term, so i wouldn’t stand behing that arguement. i don’t say this to be offensive, i say it to show that you’re doing pretty much the same thing in a more nuanced way with the term ‘direct action’

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  6. roach: When you say that direct action "has been used in reference to both non-violent and violent contexts" you have made my argument.
    The guy asks a girl, "Are you a virgin?" and she replies, "Mostly." Similarly, we have asked of the term direct action "Are you non-violence?" and have both found without any dispute that it has a little less than pure significance.
    This term must be struck from the document or else clarified without equivocation.
    And let's be very clear about the seriousness of what we are dealing with. The thousands of Stasi goons that this lawless and tyrannical state has employed to diddle with our private communications are looking for an excuse to cause very serious trouble in the name of "anti-terrorism." They are like a mindless, drooling pair of jaws that will not listen to reason, or rights, or law; they are waiting for an opening to employ the one tool that they know with fluency: The tool of force. This is the field of battle of their choosing, that most benefits them. On other fields of battle we have absolute superiority: For example these cretins think that WikiLeaks can be shut down by running a few DOS attacks on the WikiLeaks main site, or by threatening one administrator. We must be smart enough to never engage them on the ground of physical force, and always choose the battleground suited to our strengths.

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    1. terry, judging from your first comments, i would imagine that you at least partly identify yourself as a libertarian, or at least aren't offended by being called one.

      but as i have pointed out, libertarianism as a concept and as a word are historically intertwined with the anarchist movement, which has been through some 'violent' phases as well as 'non-violent' ones. when i, as a single individual, point this out to you, does that mean that from now on you'll never ever identify as libertarian, for fear of others thinking that you are violent? it doesn't matter if some libertarian code says something about non-violence, i, a lone individual on the internet, demonstrated how one can construe the word libertarian with violence, so you should abandon the concept and all it stands for.

      that is what you are asking people here to do with the concept of direct action. you come here, as an individual that hasn't appeared here before (to my limited knowledge), and you say you know one thing about a word and that we should all bow to your authoritative knowledge of this, imagining that you know more about it than anyone else choosing to use the word. no word is 'pure' and 'uncontestable'. any word can be misconstrued, especially if you're talking about the state misconstruing something in it's attempt to survive. referring or not referring to 'direct action' will not change the fortunes of this place in the internet if it becomes a target, and i don't believe that referring to 'direct action' will bring attention any quicker than, for example, being involved in the airport boycott over thanksgiving (which was meant to be a form of economic protest and would be far more of an actual threat to the state)

      but i doubt that many here would agree with you. most would agree on non-violence, but many have a different understanding of direct action and it's implications. and you are claiming to know better than us and demand that we don't use a concept rich in history and possibility.

      as far as i'm concerned, trying to force specific understandings on to other people (indoctrination) is a form of violence, which means that you are being violent when you try to tell me that you know better than me and i should just listen to you. it's not very libertarian of you, nor is it non-violent.

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  7. re: "This term must be struck from the document or else clarified without equivocation."

    I disagree and I'm not going to let myself get buffaloed by uninformed repetition of politically-motivated police talking points.

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    1. I'm not completely sure what this means: "politically-motivated police talking points." However, I don't think you intend deliberate offense: Not only is that unlike you, it's not too effective against someone like myself who's old enough to have heard a lot worse. Also, I have yet to be contradicted by reason from anyone in anything I've written here.
      Brad, this is serious stuff. Your site is a spear pointed toward the state, and right now the state is looking for an excuse to turn its legions of goons loose on any dissent. That's not news, is it? As editor, you have a responsibility to make your position absolutely clear.
      By refusing to remove ambiguity from the very reasonable inference that you do not disavow political violence, by persisting in this ambiguity when pointed out, you have painted a bullseye on the forehead of everyone associated with this site. Your refusal to clarify this is not just irresponsible, but given today's political climate, it is dangerous.

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      1. I would be disappointed if the Center went out of its way to disavow and morally condemn the very idea of violent revolution. While it's patently clear to any rational person that the Center is not advocating violent but rather non-violent revolution, defending one's self in collaboration with others by violent means against the violence of the State is not inherently immoral (just ask Tom Paine), though practical realities at a given point in history may make it so ill-advised and futile and counter-productive that it would be immoral. To go out of one's way to falsely disavow and condemn even the idea of violent revolution lest one attract the attention of the State would be exceedingly cowardly and slavish.
        My recent post Finding my philosophy at the Center for a Stateless Society

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      2. >>I'm not completely sure what this means: "politically-motivated police talking points."<<
        he's probably referring to the fact that you've come to an (market) anarchist website and are demanding that anarchists not use an important and inherently anarchist concept because you personally think it's tainted. In doing so, you come off sounding like a cop, or at least someone who's listened to cops for far too long and has ingested and incorporated most of their mannerisms and ways of thinking. you sound kind of intent on bullying people into agreeing with you (which is a form of violence) by saying the same several things and demanding that people do as you want. but i know that i at least don't agree with your one-dimensional understanding of direct action, and Brad doesn't seem to either, and i really don't think many other people here do either. and mind you, it's not that there's no agreement on focusing on non-violence, it's just that we don't agree on the implications of direct action.

        and don't forget that the fbi infiltrates non-violent vegan potlucks, amongst other things. they don't give a damn if the opposition is non-violent, they'll try to survive either way, so why give up a vital concept when we're already the enemy? direct action is a vital part of our political philosophy, and jettisoning it is nowhere near worth the non-existent benefits you imagine will appear.

        like i said before, if it bothers you so much, stick with "non-violent direct action" like gandhi's followers, but stop violently demanding that others simply forget a worthwhile concept because of your personal hangups over it.

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  8. I like it.

    Especially the ending paragraph that explains that every person is an individual — one cannot completely embody "the center."

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  9. Brad Spangler wrote:

    > The Center for a Stateless Society commissions and distributes media content designed to challenge the
    > state:

    Far better, based on what follows next, would be: "challenge the existence of the State".

    > to undermine the false perception of its legitimacy, demonstrate its irrelevance to truly solving social and
    > economic problems,

    Better: "to the optimal solution of social and economic problems".

    > and encourage its abolition.

    Since "abolition" generally implies the actions of some abolisher(s), I think that a better phrase would be "encourage its termination".

    > At no time will any Center publication implicitly or explicitly support the state’s continuation or augmentation.

    Redundant but perhaps necessary for clarity and emphasis. But change "state" to "State".

    > The Center’s publications will convey a positive vision of voluntary, peaceful cooperation as the basis for
    > flourishing life in society: they will seek to foster not only the free exchange of goods and services but also
    > the many other kinds of voluntary interaction that help to make social existence viable and attractive. Thus,
    > they will urge the abolition of all those privileges that impede peaceful cooperation,

    Again instead of "abolition" use "termination" or even "cessation".

    > while unequivocally rejecting the privilege-riddled capitalism so frequently mistaken for a genuinely freed
    > market.

    Typo: change "freed" to "free".

    > And they will help to realize a culture free from authoritarianism, exclusion, and deprivation—whether
    > effected and sustained violently or non-violently—as well as aggressive violence.

    While I don't agree with the completeness of the libertarian non-aggression principle, the above goes way beyond it in a decidedly modern liberal/socialist direction. All that is necessary is "a society free from aggressive violence".

    Authoritarianism: Authorities and the acceptance of such by many, while perhaps not the best concepts for rational independent thinking people, as long as such authorities do not use coercive (physically violational) methods, will always be acceptable. In fact, such authorities, given that they are truly rational thinking, highly knowledgeable individuals, can be a definite benefit to others.
    Exclusion: Of what! If this means people are not to be excluded, then from what and by whom? Does this mean that you guys want me to let just anyone into my house? This suggests that C4SS is promoting the realization of a society where no one discriminates in any manner against anyone else. However, discrimination is simply a natural, correct and highly useful part of *all* evaluations, whether of products, services or people and their actions. In fact there is no way in which an individual can maximize hir lifetime happiness *without* discriminating. It is not so long ago that "the discriminating person" was clearly a virtuous person.
    Deprivation: This one is really, really bad. How on earth can deprivation (and at what income level is it defined) be prevented except by transfer of income/assets from the non-deprived to the deprived? Sounds exactly like socialist altruism to me.

    > The Center will emphasize education, direct action, and the construction of alternative institutions, rather
    > than electoral politics, as strategies for achieving liberation.

    To avoid the error made by the first commenter, how about: "direct (but always non-violent) action". And again so that there is no misunderstanding, how about: "construction of alternative (non-coercive) institutions". Also rather than introduce another word, "liberation", possibly with different meanings for different readers, how about getting back to the main goal of C4SS: "strategies for achieving a Stateless Society".

    > While its basic commitments will be consistently embodied in the Center’s publications, not every Center
    > author will embrace all of them, and the Center’s core values are reflected in part in its willingness to publish
    > the work of a broad range of thinkers who oppose the state and who value economic and cultural freedom.

    If you change the previous text as I have suggested, then I don't see any reason why you need to include this kind of wishy-washy disclaimer. Surely you will not want to publish any author who does not want to see the State terminated, who wants to use violent strategies or who does not want a society in which violence is eschewed.

    –Paul Wakfer

    MoreLife for the rational – http://morelife.org
    Reality based tools for more life in quantity and quality
    The Self-Sovereign Individual Project – http://selfsip.org
    Self-sovereignty, rational pursuit of optimal lifetime happiness,
    individual responsibility, social preferencing & social contracting

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    1. re: "Far better, based on what follows next, would be: 'challenge the existence of the State'. "

      I'm not convinced of that. I potentially could be, but not yet.

      re: "Better: 'to the optimal solution of social and economic problems'. "

      I disagree.

      re: "Since 'abolition' generally implies the actions of some abolisher(s), I think that a better phrase would be 'encourage its termination'. "

      It's not clear if you're objecting to action or denying the existence of people who would seek to aboliosh the state. In any event, I'd rather subconsciously evoke the Abolitionists than The Terminator.

      re: "While I don't agree with the completeness of the libertarian non-aggression principle, the above goes way beyond it in a decidedly modern liberal/socialist direction. All that is necessary is 'a society free from aggressive violence'. "

      I disagree. Libertarians have, by confining their rhetoric solely to the specification of methods, set themselves up for endless ad hominem attacks based on false accusations of malevolent intent. It takes two points in order to draw a line and, when spelling things out for the intellectually limited, one needs to specify goals and methods in order to make a complete case.

      re: "To avoid the error made by the first commenter, how about: 'direct (but always non-violent) action'."

      Because self-defense is still violence and I believe, as Malcolm X stated: "…it is criminal to teach a man not to defend himself when he is the constant victim of brutal attacks". Thus, I will never disavow self-defense in terms of principle, despite it obviously seldom being practical.

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      1. Brad Spangler wrote:
        > re: "Far better, based on what follows next, would be: 'challenge the
        > existence of the State'. "
        >
        > I'm not convinced of that. I potentially could be, but not yet.

        The State is currently all powerful and on the watch for challengers to knock out and terminate. Besides, the vast majority of the populace currently believe (and are even earnestly and sincerely convinced) that the State is absolutely necessary even if a necessary evil – without it chaos and lawlessness (to most: *rampant harmful violence*) would prevail. Therefore first and foremost *before* you can challenge the State, you must challenge the *need* for the State – the *very existence* of the State. And to do that you must have something fully and clearly viable to replace it with that will provide as much or better self-ordering prevention of such chaos and rampant harm-doing of which the vast majority of the populace are fearful (and rightly so) without the State to prevent it. Furthermore, I think that it is only wise (and shows responsibility and common sense) to begin any dialog with those who are convinced of the necessity of the State, by *agreeing* that if the State immediately ceased to exist there *would definitely be* large amounts of such chaos and rampant harm-doing. Then one continues from there to describe how to prevent this occurrence both short term (mainly because it can't happen) and long-term by changing the paradigm of social thinking.

        > re: "Better: 'to the optimal solution of social and economic problems'. "
        >
        > I disagree.

        Since you give no reason, perhaps you did not understand (mea culpa) that it was only the last portion of:

        > to undermine the false perception of its legitimacy, demonstrate its irrelevance to truly solving social and
        > economic problems,

        that was to be replaced. So that the whole would then read:

        "to undermine the false perception of its legitimacy, demonstrate its irrelevance to the optimal solution of social and
        economic problems, "

        My reasoning for this change is that "truly" is too *relative* a word and would better be replaced by "optimal* (granted that is also highly subjective, but I think it is a little more acceptable for everyone). Maybe "really" would be an even better word, but "true"? What is true for one person may definitely not be for another.

        > re: "Since 'abolition' generally implies the actions of some
        > abolisher(s), I think that a better phrase would be 'encourage its
        > termination'."
        >
        > It's not clear if you're objecting to action or denying the existence
        > of people who would seek to abolish the state.
        Neither. I am merely suggesting that the use of "abolition" invites negative reaction from the State (just like "challenging" them does) and you would be wiser not to use it. We are so few and so easy a target at the present time that our goal should be to "creep up" on the State without arousing its fury, with subtle work to change minds and get more people acting contrary to any support of the State.

        > In any event, I'd
        > rather subconsciously evoke the Abolitionists than The Terminator.

        Do you really think that most people will see things in terms of such metaphors? I certainly don't. But rather than evoking *any* imagery (with all its misleading baggage), if you think that is a real possibility then use a more neutral and unloaded phrase like "cessation of the State" instead. Maybe "cessation" is better still, since it is the actions of the State that we want to have cease. I personally use the phrase "withering away" of the State.

        [see 2nd reply for part 2]

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      2. Part 3

        > re: "To avoid the error made by the first commenter, how about:
        > 'direct (but always non-violent) action'."
        >
        > Because self-defense is still violence and I believe, as Malcolm X
        > stated: "…it is criminal to teach a man not to defend himself when he
        > is the constant victim of brutal attacks".

        Which was a poor statement precisely because what is "criminal" is totally defined by the State. For that reason, even though I agree with its sentiment, I would not use it.

        > Thus, I will never disavow
        > self-defense in terms of principle, despite it obviously seldom being
        > practical.

        I totally agree with the correctness, when practical, of violence using self-defense against other individuals or even small groups, but directly against the State? – that is never practical and foolishness in the extreme to state *in advance*. Evasive and avoidance actions, yes. I have use these very effectively for many decades and strongly and openly advocate them, but direct violent confrontation with the State with the possibility announced ahead of time? Whoa there!

        And since your use of the term "direct action" clearly is related to the State, I still maintain my wording should be used. Once again, if you don't include something like that, then you are setting yourself up to be an easy target for elimination by the State. Do you want to be a martyr to the cause? How helpful is that to what you really want?

        Please also respond to my change suggestions in the original that are after the last that you responded to above.

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      3. Part 2

        > re: "While I don't agree with the completeness of the libertarian
        > non-aggression principle, the above goes way beyond it in a decidedly
        > modern liberal/socialist direction. All that is necessary is 'a
        > society free from aggressive violence'. "
        >
        > I disagree.
        Here is the original which I suggested to replace with the above:

        > And they will help to realize a culture free from authoritarianism, exclusion, and deprivation—whether
        > effected and sustained violently or non-violently—as well as aggressive violence.

        And you did not address my detailed reasoning which I again place here:

        "Authoritarianism: Authorities and the acceptance of such by many, while perhaps not the best concepts for rational independent thinking people, as long as such authorities do not use coercive (physically violational) methods, will always be acceptable. In fact, such authorities, given that they are truly rational thinking, highly knowledgeable individuals, can be a definite benefit to others.

        "Exclusion: Of what! If this means people are not to be excluded, then from what and by whom? Does this mean that you guys want me to let just anyone into my house? This suggests that C4SS is promoting the realization of a society where no one discriminates in any manner against anyone else. However, discrimination is simply a natural, correct and highly useful part of *all* evaluations, whether of products, services or people and their actions. In fact there is no way in which an individual can maximize hir lifetime happiness *without* discriminating. It is not so long ago that "the discriminating person" was clearly a virtuous person.

        "Deprivation: This one is really, really bad. How on earth can deprivation (and at what income level is it defined) be prevented except by transfer of income/assets from the non-deprived to the deprived? Sounds exactly like socialist altruism to me."

        How do you justify the use of those words as a libertarian?..particularly a market anarchist?

        > Libertarians have, by confining their rhetoric solely to
        > the specification of methods,

        But my suggestion did nothing of the sort. It merely removed some of the current words which are highly ambiguous, less than accurate and can be taken to have meanings of which, I am sure that you would not approve (as I pointed out). Far better to eliminate those ambiguities and stick with clarity and accuracy. Besides the right meaning of the others would naturally come about if the one left, "a society free from aggressive violence", was attained.

        > set themselves up for endless ad hominem
        > attacks based on false accusations of malevolent intent.

        I totally agree with you here. It is always necessary to first make clear that a peaceful self-ordered society of maximal personal happiness for everyone is one's goal and to describe to some reasonable degree how it would work without the State.

        > It takes two
        > points in order to draw a line and, when spelling things out for the
        > intellectually limited, one needs to specify goals and methods in
        > order to make a complete case.

        I totally agree, except that I do not think it is correct to even think of most of our adversaries as "intellectually limited". Rather they simply have not yet seen the light of fundamental thinking relative to this one area of social thought. Many of them are likely far more intelligent than you or I in many other ways.

        But again, your specification of the goals of removing "authoritarianism, exclusion, and deprivation" are far too subject to misinterpretation.

        [more in part 3]

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  10. It seems to me that non-violence is being colluded with Anarchism (once again). They are not the same thing. Anarchism does not require non-violence, nor does non-violence require Anarchism.

    I know that many modern anarchists also believe in non-violence and for very good, logical and rational reasons. I'm one of them… but I don't purport to demand non-violence from all humanity. What purpose is there to a demand which is not enforced? How then do we enforce non-violence? OH! I known, we create a monopoly on force, centered in a trusted organization like a government. So we end up in exactly the same situation we are in now.

    Non-violence can be requested, even expected, of humanity, but Anarchism provides no means by which to demand or enforce it. So, if non-violence is of critical importance to your vision of a better world then, sorry kids, Anarchism is NOT the correct philosophy for you.

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    1. There being both a long history of nonviolence and pacifism in anarchist history and a central role for 'non aggression' in libertarian history and theory, id think blunt dismissal of anarchism, especially free market & individualist anarchism, but didn't Proudhon already say in 1849 "Whoever lays his hand on me to govern me is a usurper and tyrant, and I declare him my enemy." Josiah Warren referred to his project as a "peaceable revolution", and Kropotkin, as well, would have something to say on the subject.

      Which is of course not to say there has been no relationship to violence or history of violence associated with the movement, nor that a self-defense position is identical to pacifism. But these pacifist and near-pacifist positions can't be read out of anarchist philosophy, ethics and politics either.

      From Food Not Bombs to The Voluntaryist the libertarian-anarcho-pacifist millieu continues to be an important constellation of ideas for both theory and practice

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      1. At a minimum, in any libertarianism and/or anarchism any individual could freely choose personal nonviolence, and would also allow nonviolent methods of influencing others to so choose.

        While you could not physically enforce this change in others, there is potentially great "force" in non-cooperation with those authorities that would use violence.

        "I became convinced that noncooperation with evil is as much a moral obligation as is cooperation with good. No other person has been more eloquent and passionate in getting this idea across than Henry David Thoreau. As a result of his writings and personal witness, we are the heirs of a legacy of creative protest." – Martin Luther King, Jr, Autobiography

        You may not find this realistic, but it will have to be allowed as at least theoretically possible and fully consistent with libertarianism and anarchism

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      2. From the wiki:

        Violence has always been controversial in anarchism. While many anarchists during the 19th century embraced violent propaganda of the deed, Leo Tolstoy and other anarcho-pacifists directly opposed violence as a means for change. He argued that anarchism must be nonviolent since it is, by definition, opposition to coercion and force, and that since the state is inherently violent, meaningful pacifism must likewise be anarchistic.

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