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Clarification of anarchist terminology

socialpinko
Posts: 10,458
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10/30/2012 11:43:18 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
People seem to think some of the terms or phrases which we anarchists use on the site are themselves either not explained clearly or go contrary to usual instances of their meaning, leading many to criticize us as being incomprehensible or our arguments as not understandable by those who don't spend all their time learning about anarchist legal/historical/economic theory. And while I think this criticism is far fetched most of the time (Google is only a mouse click away), I figure it makes sense to at least try to make the terminology we use more accessible.

((Force))

I'd like to clarify on the meaning of the term 'force'. In discussion, someone will almost always strawmann the meaning and thus sidetrack discussion into what we actually mean. (It's just a pet theory but I think statists have a much lower rate of being able to understand by context.)

When an anarchist says something like "All State action is force" or "State actions are forceful actions" they aren't literally saying that an IRS agent comes to your house with a gun to make sure you fill out your taxes every year. what it means is that all (or most) actions/policies by the State are ultimately backed up by the threat of force against those who fail to abide by them. Some State actions use force as policy but almost every State action uses the threat of force.

For instance, take taxation. The State doesn't send a SWAT team to your house to collect taxes, however those who refuse to pay taxes are left open to the State ceasing their assets, garnishing their wages, or even throwing them into jail. The third option shouldn't be controversial as to whether it's force, but what of the first two? I've never been subject to the first two but I assume the State doesn't just ask nicely. If you resist force will be applied and if you refuse further you could be killed.

The confusion seems to stem from an equivocation of force with categorical force i.e., force as a matter of blanket policy. In most instances this isn't true though. States enact hypothetical force. It's sort of an if-then type of thing. 'If' you don't pay the State a portion of your income, 'then' the State will come in and forcefully take it and 'if' you choose to resist 'then' the State will throw you in jail. The closest analogy I can think of are those scenes from movies with the mafia where they subtly imply they'll beat the sh1t out of you and destroy your store if you don't pay them protection money. They don't just come and raise hell and take the money, they steal with the subtle threat of punishment.

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If anyone has any suggestions for terms or phrases which they don't understand or think anarchists have used inaccessibly feel free to post them.
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: At 9/29/2014 10:55:59 AM, imabench wrote:
: : At 9/29/2014 9:43:46 AM, kbub wrote:
: :
: : DDO should discredit support of sexual violence at any time and in every way.
:
: I disagree.
Ore_Ele
Posts: 25,980
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10/30/2012 11:51:04 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 10/30/2012 11:43:18 PM, socialpinko wrote:
People seem to think some of the terms or phrases which we anarchists use on the site are themselves either not explained clearly or go contrary to usual instances of their meaning, leading many to criticize us as being incomprehensible or our arguments as not understandable by those who don't spend all their time learning about anarchist legal/historical/economic theory. And while I think this criticism is far fetched most of the time (Google is only a mouse click away), I figure it makes sense to at least try to make the terminology we use more accessible.


((Force))


I'd like to clarify on the meaning of the term 'force'. In discussion, someone will almost always strawmann the meaning and thus sidetrack discussion into what we actually mean. (It's just a pet theory but I think statists have a much lower rate of being able to understand by context.)

When an anarchist says something like "All State action is force" or "State actions are forceful actions" they aren't literally saying that an IRS agent comes to your house with a gun to make sure you fill out your taxes every year. what it means is that all (or most) actions/policies by the State are ultimately backed up by the threat of force against those who fail to abide by them. Some State actions use force as policy but almost every State action uses the threat of force.

For instance, take taxation. The State doesn't send a SWAT team to your house to collect taxes, however those who refuse to pay taxes are left open to the State ceasing their assets, garnishing their wages, or even throwing them into jail. The third option shouldn't be controversial as to whether it's force, but what of the first two? I've never been subject to the first two but I assume the State doesn't just ask nicely. If you resist force will be applied and if you refuse further you could be killed.

The confusion seems to stem from an equivocation of force with categorical force i.e., force as a matter of blanket policy. In most instances this isn't true though. States enact hypothetical force. It's sort of an if-then type of thing. 'If' you don't pay the State a portion of your income, 'then' the State will come in and forcefully take it and 'if' you choose to resist 'then' the State will throw you in jail. The closest analogy I can think of are those scenes from movies with the mafia where they subtly imply they'll beat the sh1t out of you and destroy your store if you don't pay them protection money. They don't just come and raise hell and take the money, they steal with the subtle threat of punishment.


===
If anyone has any suggestions for terms or phrases which they don't understand or think anarchists have used inaccessibly feel free to post them.
===

It actually stems when people say "force" when they mean "threat of force." This is usually done to imply a greater violation (since actually committing an action is greater than the possibility or threat of the action) and thus sway people with vague wording.

Though I will not argue the example in this thread.
"Wanting Red Rhino Pill to have gender"