23 votes

No Violence Necessary. Some Communication Required.

Revolutions are often confused with the violence that many times accompanies them. However, don't be fooled. For better or worse, revolutions only occur when the prevailing ideology is overhauled or replaced. First and foremost, revolutions are intellectual endeavors.

History paints this picture clearly. For instance, there is no question that the United States Military has had significant technological advantages over its adversaries in the last half-century or so. Was Vietnam a win? Is Iraq a win? Is Afghanistan a win? This is no slight on the soldiers. It's not their fault. “Wars” cannot be won by simply killing more of them than they kill of you. For every person killed, five others must be convinced that you are the “good guy” – that is, real success requires “winning the hearts and minds.”

Violence only occurs when communication has been given up on or never attempted. Just like a drunk at a bar might say “I'm done talking,” political leaders sometimes say, “Diplomacy has failed.” Fist meet kisser. Drone meet village. However, it is rarely the case that more skilled communication couldn't have overcome the obstacles that laid in the way of more peaceful resolutions.

In efforts to preserve self-worth, pride is naturally a protected commodity. During intense discussions, people have a tendency to make statements with absolute certainty – leaving themselves little or no room for error. For instance, ultimatums are rarely a good idea since, if one does not follow through, respect may be lost – while the consequences of following through may be even worse. When pride is leading towards an undesirable outcome, it can accurately be categorized as foolish pride.

There is nothing wrong with leaving oneself room for error. Even when a person actually does possess an expert opinion, it can rarely hurt to begin an explanation with something akin to,

“I could be wrong, but I like think about it this way...”

Prefacing the point(s) you are trying to make with such a statement achieves three goals:

  1. It reduces the pride you have invested in what you're trying to convey in the off chance that you are wrong (Imagine that!).
  2. It tells the other person that you are likely willing to consider their side of the story.
  3. By expressing that you are willing to admit error, the other person is more likely to listen with an open mind.

I could be wrong, but I think leaving yourself some room for error will open more doors than it will close. It is a powerful adjustment that can be easily incorporated into one's communication repertoire.

Recalling a point from the book How to Have Power and Confidence in Dealing with People by Les Giblin, other people often have the attitude you expect them to have. For example, if you expect the other person to be unpleasant, your actions and words will tend to bring that out in them. On the other hand, if you appear happy to see them, the treatment you are apt to receive will likely be very different. It's amazing how well this principle works.

As people dedicated to reforming (and/or abolishing) the State, the initiation of violence will not bring us closer to our goals. Per the libertarian philosophy, violence should be reserved for cases of self-defense. Victory will ultimately be the result of convincing enough people about the truth, and that success can be greatly expedited by use of effective communication. Revolutions occur through the exchange of ideas – not bombs and bullets.

So, be jolly and go talk to some folks! And, never forget that a smile is the most important item in your wardrobe! It's a r3VOLution!

Happy Holidays Daily Paulers!

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.

Good points here, but

I think you maybe left something out re how things might be prefaced (maybe you consider it self-evident, but I'm not so sure): the importance of *being genuine*. It's galling for someone to preface something w/an attitude such as expressed in "I could be wrong, but I like to think about it this way...," engaging the other party, but then have that be followed by speech & tone that is derogatory or otherwise insulting. Called "sending mixed messages," it's a ploy of manipulative people who have some other objective than to foster open, honest dialogue.

As to pride, you reminded me of a funny story. In college I found an error in a graph in an economics textbook (Paul Samuelson's) and raised the issue in class. Using an irrelevant analogy "trying to explain it to me," the professor finally threw up his hands saying I was "wasting the class's time" and that I'd need to come to his office. When I arrived, barely looking up from his work he waved me off mumbling that I'd been right. The next class he mentioned to everyone that, actually, the graph in the book was wrong--- Ha, ha. After the condescending manner in which he'd treated me, rather than admit he was wrong he actually preferred to let the class continue to believe, in error, that the effect of a flat tax was as depicted in the incorrectly drawn textbook graph. Btw, there are two morals to that story: 1) what you said about pride; and 2) algebra is important! :)

When we try to pick out anything by itself, we find it hitched to everything else in the Universe.
~ John Muir

I agree...

When people aren't sincere, it shows. I've had (a minority of) people tell me that How to Win Friends and Influence People didn't improve their relations. In all the accounts that I remember, it was precisely for the reason you mentioned. They thought of the techniques as a method of manipulation rather than a sincere way to communicate.

Brilliant -

This is brilliant logic, but unfortunately posturing, collective-vindication and deceit can always undermine honest diplomacy. You just have to know what you can and cannot discuss for this to work on the guy next-door. Some topics of debate are guarded and unmovable from the outset. Once you appear to show the manufactured and often subconscious signs of "racism, homophobia, right-wing-extremism, corporatism, statism, lunacy, et cetera" in your train of logic, your neighbor will no longer hear that logic and will only hear your point-of-view as an agenda. The debate will get flipped around if it continues against this wall, and the only compromises will be toward your own logic and not that of the opposing side.

Nonetheless, this is brilliant - if we all had the honor and dignity afforded to us by our human dispositions there really is no violence necessary.

Once you open a crack...

the truth can seep in and allow you to talk about more over time.

True.

But you do have to consider just one point over time - truth is not an opinion. If what you believe and stand for is really true in the broadest and most literal sense, any leaning away from it is a leaning toward falsehood. To concede in good nature to a falsehood also works over time to the opposing side's advantage, letting the truth seep out of your argument. This is crucial to consider when any "crack" appears.

Do you know why it is military genius to only fortify three sides of a structure and leave one side weak? Once you allow an enemy inside the fortification you have removed their freedom. If you are attempting to debate what you know is truth, sometimes seeing those cracks in the wall - a breech in the opposing side's "fortification" - will ease the sense of right concerning truth. What you may finally see as peaceful acceptance of truth can equally be seen as an advantage against it. And once inside those metaphysical walls, the opposing side has the full advantage - not everyone has the mental endurance to maintain their stand when enclosed by their enemies on every side.

The real struggle in any form of debate is within each individual participating. Know what is true and never back down from it. Thank you for this post, by the way.

Thanks for your comments...

I like to say: If you don't stand on your principles, someone else will.

Excellent work.

Thank you.

Don't feed the pandas. Ever.

Thank you!

...

Excellent

And, it ties in with my comment, yesterday, about refusal to vote. Refusing to vote works about as well as refusing to talk to someone (aka "pouting").

I don't vote on all offices; if there aren't any libertarians, I don't vote. But, I do vote for good candidates (regardless of party), because voting is the least violent way to change the government, and it doesn't take much: according to Dr. Paul, Congress always has its finger to the wind.

A voting trend is all it takes to send a signal, and most politicians aren't principled enough to withstand it, once they see it (of course, voting one or two out, helps make the point).

What do you think? http://consequeries.com/

Many libertarians have interpreted the act voting as a type of

consent. However, in agreement with you, if an anti-statist is on the ballot, voting for them seems to be more similar to dissent rather than consent.

I'm closer to the views of Lysander Spooner on this issue.

I will try

At the city council meeting the idea of liberty is silenced by three Authoritarion liberals. So my response has been more of a negative tone and have been unable to persuade them. In the long run the city and its residents loose :(. I will let everyone know if this helps me talk some sense into them!

Can't wait to hear back from you...

It may take a couple of attempts to chip through their veneer, but if you just get them to hear you out, you've succeeded. Many times, people have too much pride tied into their beliefs to admit that they're wrong immediately. It seems they have to stew on the truth for a while.

It's Too Positive

So I voted it down.

“...taxes are not raised to carry on wars, but that wars are raised to carry on taxes”
Thomas Paine, Rights of Man

Huh?

...

Hopefully the Police

Industrial complex will stop THEIR violence against us on the street, in our cars and at our homes. Otherwise I think all bets are off.

Bump

Season's greetings d.

Free includes debt-free!

:-)

Happy Holiday to you, dwalters :-)

"What if the American people learn the truth" - Ron Paul

Thanks!

Be safe out there!