Thursday, 8 March 2012

Concise Information

Hi guys, welcome to Orygyn!

Having a discussion on YouTube or between blogs has a number of enormous advantages which are impossible in a real-time debate. In a debate, what you bring there is all you have. If you can't immediately respond to your opponent's argument, even if you can do it eventually, you will likely come out the loser. These debates are biased in favour of persuasive and quick-witted individuals instead of the most logical ones. Moreover, unless you've memorised a number of key studies or quotes to support your argument, the audience will simply have to decide whether or not to take your word for it. On the internet, neither of these issues is a problem. When someone posts a critique of your argument, you have all the time in the world to really think about what they're saying, assess it for flaws and, where possible, find sources to back up your counterargument.

If someone cites a statistic or study but fails to name it, I will ask them to. I expect them to name it and to not have to go looking for it myself, as it may be a wild goose chase. I've outlined this requirement several times and I see it as perfectly fair to ask. In turn, I've not had many people express a problem with it. Now, though, I think I need to refine this request.

Ever since I uploaded my YouTube video, "Taxation Is Not Theft", I have been in a discussion with a person going by the username "Peace Requires Anarchy". My most productive discussion to emerge from the video and it's follow-up blog posts was with him. In his last blog post, and I will link the blog at the bottom of this post, Peace Requires Anarchy responded to my post "A Society Without Mandatory Tax". To answer my questions, he linked a number of articles, essays, books and a YouTube video. The effort he has gone to is appreciated, but there is a problem with this approach to sourcing your posts, and that is that there is an upper limit on how much the one who is to read the sources can reasonably be expected to read. I have read Kinsella's article and watched the YouTube video, and 1 of my future posts will be a critique of the article, but citing entire books without pointing to a specific page, chapter, section etc. goes beyond this upper limit that you can reasonably expect your opponent to read.

To that end, I want to share an idea with anyone reading this post, that of concise information. If you're struggling for something to write a blog post about, or make a YouTube video about, may I suggest that if you've read a book, or watched a documentary, which outlines a certain concept, that you condense that concept down into a video or blog post. Maybe the video or post would be quite long, but I've never personally come across a concept which cannot be condensed in this way. For example, I condensed all my thoughts about what a society without mandatory tax might look like down into 1 blog post. There might have been more I could've said, but I would never have had to post a 2nd post in order to accommodate it. What I'm saying is, if I can condense all my thoughts on the issue into 1 post, it shouldn't be hard for someone to condense their vision of an ideal libertarian or anarchist society into 1 post as well.

Lastly I want to address Peace Requires Anarchy directly. I'm not expecting you to do this. I'm grateful for what you've linked me to already. This is just a general post meant for everyone.

Peace Requires Anarchy's blog:



  1. Hello again,

    I do often fail to be concise when it is quite possible that I could be more concise, so I apologize for that.

    I just want to note though that in our most recent exchange, it really wasn't even a *possibility* for me to be concise.

    You wrote, "In conclusion, if you posit that mandatory taxation is immoral, it falls to you to posit a society that can function well without it."

    The task of positing a society (especially one that the world has never seen before) is certainly no task that can be accomplished in a single blog post. Even a single book would be quite a challenge, and it would necessarily still have to leave many details unexamined.

    That's why I linked you to a full book (Practical Anarchy) on the subject, as well a couple long essays. This large amount of material only goes a fraction of the way to positing a society that can function well without aggression.

    If I knew how to give you a concise glimpse of a free society without governments or taxation then I would, but I simply don't know how.

    So take your time reading and learning about such a society (if you would like (I very much hope you will choose to)) and don't feel obligated to get back to me on any of it if you don't want to. I do not expect you to read the whole book in a few days and then write up all of your criticisms or anything crazy like that. I was just providing you with some material that would start to help answer the big question you asked.

    Having said that, if there is anything that you would like to reply to me about (from the resources I provided or anything else), I will do my best to try to get back to you.

    Thanks for the discussion.

    1. Of course. As I said, I appreciate what you've linked me to. I just wasn't really expecting a reply that detailed. I had this image of people proposing solutions to 1 or 2 of the problems I'd addressed in the post.