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Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Seeking advice on how to get radicals to answer one's arguments

OK, I admit it, I'm not very good at figuring out how to get radicals to face my arguments and confront my ideas. 

I've been making this asymmetry argument about the Dallas Accord for over a year, and haven't gotten a single cogent response.  (After the initial posting, I made the argument twice on IPR in September, to Starchild himself in April, and to Roderick Long this month.) So when Starchild repeated the Standard Radical Line about the Dallas Accord, I had an idea.  I'll re-post the core of my argument in a standalone message, with a subject line of "The asymmetry that no LP radical will address". I'll even graciously say in that message that I agree with Starchild on the only specific platform language that he's offered in this discussion, and that I disagree with my friend and ally M on the question of making all taxes voluntary.  Surely that will entice the prolific Starchild into explaining why the Dallas Accord's effect hadn't been asymmetric for three decades.

Did it work?  No.  Instead of answering my asymmetry argument, Starchild hijacked the word "asymmetry" and used it to blatantly re-exhibit the very phenomenon I've diagnosed (*).  Instead of giving any specifics in response to my complaint about vagueness, he just repeated his hand-waving.  In frustration, I posted the message below, and suddenly I have etiquette coaches popping up all over the place.  OK, here's a version with more of the frustration edited out.  (You should have seen my first draft!)   Let's see if this works any better.  And in the future, if Starchild doesn't want to be taunted because his responses to me blatantly ignore my arguments, there's an obvious way to avoid that outcome. :-)

(*) For the umpteenth time, here is the radicals' version of the Dallas Accord: "The LP shall systematically call for the abolition of every government power, agency, purpose, and function.  Smallarchists in the LP shall remain happy that the LP doesn't use the word 'anarchy' and that the government will be allowed to maintain a P.O. box -- at a private firm like Mailboxes Etc."

Starchild wrote:
SC) I don't hear you complaining about the asymmetry of the National LP putting out official publications, press releases, fundraising    letters, etc., that implicitly and often explicitly adopt moderate    premises, tone, etc., while mention of the Non-Aggression Principle is  scarcely anywhere to be seen or heard. (SC
Hah.  In the famous Donny Ferguson email that you and other radicals love to quote out of context, Donny wrote that Libertarians believe in the principle of "non-initiation of force".  I even quoted this for you four days ago! As for "moderate premises, tone, etc.", that's just more vague insubstantive mumbling.

As I explained in my previous message, your only substantive complaint here is that official LP communications aren't saying enough of the things that anarchists agree with.  By contrast, my complaint was that the LP had been saying things (e.g. personal secession) that we smallarchists DISagree with.  Either Please quote me an official LP communication that actually contradicts your crypto-anarchist principles, or admit that your complaint just isn't in the same league as mine.
SC) Substantive disagreement? The embarrassing lack of detail in our platform, for one. (SC
LOL.  Did you even READ the message from me that you bottom-quoted in full?  I repeat: BH) Radicals claim it's "offputting" to them if the LP doesn't issue a 14,000-word agreement with the details of their anarchist agenda -- while hypocritically dismissing the complaints of libertarians whose principles are actually /contradicted /by some of those details.  In other words: anarchists get to complain if the LP doesn't say nearly everything anarchists believe, but smallarchists have to shut up and smile if they disagree with anything the anarchists make the LP say. (BH  OK, now try offering a response that I can't rebut simply by rubbing your nose in what I already wrote. :-)
SC) The party's failure to adopt ideological standards for candidates, officers, or delegates. (SC
This is so vague as to be arguably meaningless -- and blatantly ignores the Statement of Principles on which our Party's ideology and purpose is grounded.  If you think any candidate, officer, or delegate contravenes these principles, then state your accusation and see if you can make it stick.  I offer myself as a test case.  I advocate state taxation of aggression -- monopolizing, depleting, polluting, or congesting the commons.  Do I contravene the SoP?  Am I a Pledge violator?  Go ahead, try to purge me.  I dare you.

And if you say the SoP doesn't exclude my geominarchist principles, then who are you to demand standards different from our SoP?  You can either demand enforcement of the SoP, or you can try to amend it.  Any other complaint about "ideological standards" is hollow.
SC) The failure to adhere to the 1974 Dallas Accord under which Libertarians agreed to leave the door open to either anarchy or limited government and not take a position one way or the other (SC
I explained last year why the Dallas Accord is asymmetric: me when any radical ever offers a cogent response.  And by the way, the Platform still does not contain any language advocating that the state should have any authority to initiate force.  Again, if you think even a single clause in the Platform contravenes the SoP, then you should organize an appeal to the Judicial Committee per Bylaw 7.8.
SC) The insistence on treating the Libertarian Party as an end in itself [...] (SC
Find the quotation mark key on your keyboard.  Press it.  Then cut and paste Please quote an official LP communication that "insists" as you describe above.  Then type a closing quotation mark.  Can you do that, or not?  On this front, all I've seen from you is a six-word out-of-context quote from Donny Ferguson.  I already corrected you by giving the actual context.  Feel free to address it. :-)