mellyrn on April 06, 2011, 07:12:58 am
Words change.  Hamlet tries to get to his father's ghost and threatens anyone who "lets" him.  Try using "let" in that sense today, and you'll confuse your audience.

It may never again be possible to describe a lighthearted, cheerful and blithe person with the word "gay", or a strange uncanny one with the word "queer".

The words "girl" and "wench" once meant "a child", of either sex.  Language flows.

It might be as well to let the term "anarchy" go.  It's so commonly, colloquially used as a synonym for "chaos" that only the seriously literate can use it correctly, without knee-jerk emotionalism.

I wonder if some of our militantly-ignorant posters, the ones who make obvious their refusal to actually learn anything real about anarchy and simply operate out of their connotative baggage, might relate better to the idea of, say, "decentralized" or "networked" societies.

Would the internet work better with one ruling node or congress of ruling nodes?  Would it work at all?
« Last Edit: April 06, 2011, 01:00:24 pm by mellyrn »

happycrow on April 06, 2011, 08:13:56 am
People like their linguistic standard-bearers:  Saussure was no dummy.
That said, I've generally preferred to speak in the language of the left, and describe things as being "cooperative" rather than "coercive."  It's perceived as less romantic but more wholesome, and generally takes out the sting when the Dismal Science appears (as it inevitably must).

Holt on April 06, 2011, 09:00:03 am
The net is already more centralised than most people care to admit.

Xavin on April 06, 2011, 09:23:29 am
The net is already more centralised than most people care to admit.

Yes, well done.

Quibbling over the details of an example tangential to the actual point.

That's bound to impress people.

Holt on April 06, 2011, 09:49:17 am
Just pointing out things darling no need to throw a hissy fit

J Thomas on April 06, 2011, 10:24:29 am
The net is already more centralised than most people care to admit.

Does it need to be, or is this mainly a government choice? Or a choice by big businesses?

Holt on April 06, 2011, 10:31:15 am
The net is already more centralised than most people care to admit.

Does it need to be, or is this mainly a government choice? Or a choice by big businesses?


It's more a fundamental part of how it works thing. Making it even more centralised would break it but making more decentralised would also break it.

macsnafu on April 06, 2011, 10:42:15 am
I wonder if we're arguing about certain ideas, or merely about the words used to express those ideas.  While I certainly have an attachment to certain words, getting the words straight is only so that the ideas can  be expressed.  Arguing about the words is thus relatively pointless.  Can't we agree on the words for this forum or at least for a particular thread?
I love mankind.  It's PEOPLE I can't stand!  - Linus Van Pelt.

GlennWatson on April 06, 2011, 10:42:54 am
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The words "girl" and "wench" once meant "a child", of either sex.  

I did not know that.  

Onto your post, I use anarchy as a vocab word in class and kids do confuse it with chaos.  I simply call it the absence of government but I will say that whenever one side refers to the other as 'militantly-ignorant' most rational discussion ends at that pint, if it ever existed.  Strangely people who want to “win” arguments still do it.  I guess it always makes humans feel better to denigrate those with whom they disagree.

That being said, I do like the phrases "decentralized" or "networked" societies.

mellyrn on April 06, 2011, 12:05:09 pm
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whenever one side refers to the other as 'militantly-ignorant' most rational discussion ends at that pint

Oh, yes.  Even when one person refers to the other side as [insert complaint here], good discussion ends, at least with that one person.

If you meant me (being the most recent source of the phrase "militantly ignorant"), is that what I did?  Or did I reference "some posters"?

There are at least two who write of anarchy in ways that display ignorance, and when informed by the knowledgeable that their ignorance has been noted, do nothing to educate themselves.  Perhaps I should have named them.  Perhaps it was inappropriate to use "some of" when the imagined whole consists of two or three.  There is at least one with whom I very often disagree, who I very much hope does not imagine that this particular shoe fits him.

If someone insists "algebra can't work", and continues to do so even after being encouraged to take a class and after being offered examples of algebra at work, it seems to me that "militantly ignorant" is only a statement of fact.  The statement can be proved wrong only by the anti-algebraist learning some algebra and then demonstrating that he has in fact learned it.

I would enjoy being proved wrong in my assessment of "militant ignorance" in respect of at least two posters.  The improvement in the quality of discussion would be ever so delicious. 

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That being said, I do like the phrases "decentralized" or "networked" societies.

Thanks.  I hope it helps.


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I wonder if we're arguing about certain ideas, or merely about the words used to express those ideas.

Some people can't separate the two.  Sometimes the connotations make it almost impossible for a person to get the intended message, as when someone has difficulty saying the word "bitch" even when he means "a female canine".  When we're dealing with someone distracted by connotations, we may be better off just choosing a different term.  Gods know, English has enough of them.

quadibloc on April 06, 2011, 12:07:49 pm
It's true, at least from my personal perspective, that what the word "anarchist" means to most people is a radical from the 19th Century who went about throwing bombs at things like banks and police stations. But people are also aware of its technical meaning, so not using it might seem disingenuous if the abolition of law and government is what you advocate. So it isn't easy to win on this issue.

mellyrn on April 06, 2011, 12:59:31 pm
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so not using it might seem disingenuous if the abolition of law and government is what you advocate. So it isn't easy to win on this issue.

Hmm.  I propose a decentralized, networked society to someone, who agrees it sounds like a good idea; we spend some time discussing what such a society might look like and what it would involve.  At some point he realizes that centralizing factors, like law and government, would have to be given up.  He cries, "You tricked me into advocating anarchy!" (either aloud to me, or to himself), despite all our interesting projections & modeling.

If he changes his opinion because of a change in the wording, then he's one of those who can't separate meaning from connotation, in which case rational discussion with him is a lost cause anyway.  I should ascertain beforehand whether he can or can't get over verbal baggage.  If he can, we're good.  If he can't, then he is in my book fair game for manipulation, though that wouldn't be my first choice.

Interesting point.  Thanks.

J Thomas on April 06, 2011, 02:25:37 pm
I will say that whenever one side refers to the other as 'militantly-ignorant' most rational discussion ends at that pint, if it ever existed.

I mostly give up on rational discussion past the third pint anyway.

Holt on April 06, 2011, 02:58:06 pm
I will say that whenever one side refers to the other as 'militantly-ignorant' most rational discussion ends at that pint, if it ever existed.

I mostly give up on rational discussion past the third pint anyway.


Rational discussion is possible with anarchists? This is big news! By the Omnissiah this could change our entire understanding of this part of the social strata.

lordofthedice on April 06, 2011, 03:22:34 pm
You do have a point. I once got into a discussion with someone who seemed to think that there were many different definitions of anarchy and the idea of having no rules (in addition to no government) was one of them. I had to explain that there were a bunch of different types of anarchy (anarchy with socialism, ancap, ect.) but that all of these types of anarchy had one thing in common: the lack of a government or ruler, which is the literal definition of the word anarchy. I don't think we can come up with a clearer or better word for what we are describing.

Also, someone mentioned that most people associate anarchists with people throwing bricks and bombs into banks in the 19th century. Now, I once did a research project in high school on Mikhail Bakunin and I remembered he tried to lead several revolutions in Europe, but I forget if they ever got far. What I do know about are the Anarchist in the United States in the 19th-20th century. There were strikes after World War I which got pretty violent and the Anarchists as well as many of the far left (Wobblies, communists, socialists) were blamed for inciting the violence. I think this and the punk movement later on is where anarchy got its bad connotations. 'Punks' always seemed, to me, to support the 'chaotic' form of Anarchy, probably inspired by the already bad connotations and those people liked the idea of being to do whatever they wanted.

Please excuse any mistakes in my writing. Writing on a phone is tedious.
« Last Edit: April 06, 2011, 03:32:29 pm by lordofthedice »