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Explaining voluntarism

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John James Posted: Mon, Jul 2 2012 6:29 PM

This would have gone in the Adam Kokesh eloquently makes the case for voluntarism thread, but if you venture over there you can see it got pretty well derailed.

So I'm putting this here as another useful example of a conversation in which voluntarism is explained, but with a twist.  There's some commentary to be had with this one.  I think this provides a useful insight into the mindset, or rather, the difficulty of coming out of the mindset of a statist.

In this clip Kokesh allows an "Occupy Wall Streeter" to interview him.  You'll notice how the guy right away starts going into making sure Kokesh is against the bank bailouts and the like.  Being an Alex Jones fan, the guy is also at least somewhat hip to the banking cartel that is the Federal Reserve System, so he asks Kokesh pointed questions about that.  Of course Kokesh knows what's up and passes those tests.

The funny/sad/telling part comes in at 10:10 when Adam asks the guy if he now has a better sense of where voluntarists are coming from.  Adam had literally just spent the previous few minutes explaining how law and order could be maintained in a Stateless society through private defense means, and that the world will never be perfect, there will always be bad people, but that the influence and negative effects of bad people can be minimized and would be much less harmful in a free society as opposed to the institutionalized immorality that exists in the current setup.

Right after his explanation of all this, he asks if the guy understands better, and the guy's response is: "I think you guys are a bit idealist, because you hope that everybody's gonna control themselves, and that you're not gonna need police or somebody to put them in jail if they commit a crime..."

Adam has to stop him and point out "I just told you we're not saying that."  Literally a 4-5 minute conversation about how aggression would be dealt with in a free society and it's as if it never happened 6 seconds after it concluded.  The guy just straw mans (whether intentionally or not) the position Adam just explained to him, by essentially summarizing it as the exact opposite.

What I think is telling here is that I don't think the guy was being dishonest.  That is to say, I don't think he was purposefully mischaracterizing what was just explained to him, or at least not entirely.  To me it seems that that is really what he's as if the idea of a stateless society was so unfathomable that he basically shut off his brain as Adam explained it, and then once Adam was finished talking, he simply proceeded with his original thought.

This rolls into a conversation about: "well what about the Constitution, do we each have our own constitution, or do we have a national consitution?"

Even though we're already more than 10 minutes into a conversation about a setup in which it is understood there is no government, and this guy is asking about a "national consitution", Adam eloquently responds to this and explains how "as great as this experiment has been, in our democratic-republic, I think we need to admit where it's failed, and where we need to move passed it." 

And the guy's first question is "So how would you change the Constitution?"


I think this serves as a nice example and reminder of how honestly difficult it is/ can be for people to actually wrap their heads around the idea of a Stateless society.  I think it's important to keep this in mind.  Try to think back to when you first heard this idea, and how difficult it was for you to accept the feasibility of it.  It's important to never completely forget your own journey and what it took for you to reach the position you ended up resting on, and that making that transition is not easy...and the less knowledgeable and intelligent you are, the harder it tends to be.

This feeds into what I was saying about why Ron Paul has been so effective.  As I said here, there are few instances in which it is effective or beneficial to bring up voluntarism yourself.  It's usually better to let people get there on their just guide them in the right direction, and stay true to your principles.  I was pleased to fined Rothbard seemed to share the same sentiment.

That being said, I think there is much to be learned from Kokesh in the way he discusses these ideas with people.

For more on this topic, see the "argumentation" section of the Ultimate Beginner meta-thread


AVTM on the spot at #OWS


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