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#434912 - 10/12/10 11:14 AM Deceptive "Strength" Ideas
XUL Offline


Registered: 12/12/09
Posts: 238
Loc: Oslo, Norway
I had a funny exchange of words with an acquaintance. He's very much the "survivalist" type who's expecting everybody to be as militant and uncompromising as he is... which of course is little but silly romantic fantasy. But he's having fun with all his camouflage fatigues and machine guns and whatnot.

Anyway, a mutual friend had had some trouble with a violent ex boyfriend which at a heated moment caused her to call the police -- even though she's a self-professed anarchist who always preaches that the government is a bad thing - and yada yada yada.

My friend saw it as weak to call the police. He argued that if you're against the establishment, you shouldn't take advantage of it when you're in a pressured situation. You should go down with honour.

Myself, I said that I'd phone the hotline of Belse-fucking-bub himself for help if I was at a disadvantage, caring nothing about whatever crazy "pride" this might offend: When you're in the hot spot your only concern should be to get the situation under control - with any means available to you.

In fact this is a perfect example of "counterproductive pride". So what if you have the idealised political idea that society ought to not have governments and all that jazz? This is fair enough. It's something that you talk about over your glass of red wine or whatever... but when the shit hits the fan you want to call for anybody who's even remotely on your side - and if you fail to do that you're a stupid fuck.

Anyway, that was my argument.

Now I ask: "Practise what you preach" people say. Is that really important?
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#434916 - 10/12/10 12:00 PM Re: Deceptive "Strength" Ideas [Re: XUL]
Roho_the_Rooster Offline
CoS Warlock

Registered: 03/10/05
Posts: 6996
Loc: Pre-Apocalypolis
Your politically naïve friend is what we in the industry call a “blow hard”. They are fairly easy to spot, as they are generally seen in a seated position regaling all with stories of “what they would have done”. “Practicing what you preach” is the opposite of hypocrisy.
My international ignorance is showing again. I thought survivalists were an American phenomenon. Nice to know that rugged individuality and radical personal responsibility is fairly universal…along with armchair revisionists who like to tell what they would have done had they been the ones in another's shoes. Its a balance thing. If I had been there, I would have set your friend straight pronto!
grin
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#434919 - 10/12/10 12:56 PM Re: Deceptive "Strength" Ideas [Re: XUL]
Old_Pig Offline


Registered: 11/27/02
Posts: 3961
Loc: The Deep South
If I was to live by the "practice what you preach" maxim, I would practice nothing at all.
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#434921 - 10/12/10 01:02 PM Re: Deceptive "Strength" Ideas [Re: XUL]
John Prophet Offline

CoS Member

Registered: 04/06/09
Posts: 981
Loc: My suburban lair
I’d say it’s best to take it the other way and “Preach what you practice”. Your friend’s flaw wasn’t in calling the police; it was taking such an irrational anarchist stance in the first place.

The goal shouldn’t be to take a stance and then try to back it up. The goal should be to know yourself well enough to determine what will work for you and then decide what you will “preach” based on that.

Aside from appearing hypocritical, as Roho pointed out, not practicing what you’re preaching is also a good indication that whatever you believe is not realistic and therefore wrong. Championing impractical ideas about how things should be done is pointless and does not reflect very well on the intelligence or general productive worth of the individual who claims to believe those things.

I guess the only real problem with not “Practicing what you preach” is that people are less likely to respect you or take you seriously. Some people might react to that by saying that they don’t care about what other people think. However, if that's the case, it begs the question: why were they “preaching” to anyone else about their views in the first place?



Edited by John Prophet (10/12/10 01:33 PM)
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#434925 - 10/12/10 02:36 PM Re: Deceptive "Strength" Ideas [Re: Old_Pig]
Roho_the_Rooster Offline
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Registered: 03/10/05
Posts: 6996
Loc: Pre-Apocalypolis
Originally Posted By: Old_Pig
If I was to live by the "practice what you preach" maxim, I would practice nothing at all.


Why can't I say cool stuff like that?
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#434927 - 10/12/10 05:27 PM Re: Deceptive "Strength" Ideas [Re: John Prophet]
Machismo Offline
CoS Member

Registered: 02/05/10
Posts: 1132
Loc: New Jersey
Originally Posted By: John Prophet
I’d say it’s best to take it the other way and “Preach what you practice”.


Exactly.

Quote:
Your friend’s flaw wasn’t in calling the police; it was taking such an irrational anarchist stance in the first place.


Exactly. Sometimes I think you and I were separated at birth, John. We certainly think alike on many questions.

Anarchism is pretentious to preach in public unless you really want, and could thrive in, a world of violent gangs unrestrained by anything but other violent gangs. The Shihan of my dojo could pull this off, if he wanted to, which he doesn't. Put him in a room with ten gun-toting bastards who want to kill him, and don't be surprised sixty seconds later when he's the only one standing. He's that good. Anyone who isn't that good should shut up about anarchism and put time and energy into learning not only hand to hand, but guns too, and the art of war - because that's what anarchism is. Unending war.
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#434930 - 10/12/10 06:11 PM Re: Deceptive "Strength" Ideas [Re: John Prophet]
reprobate Offline

CoS Warlock

Registered: 06/05/02
Posts: 7140
Loc: Canada
Quote:
I’d say it’s best to take it the other way and “Preach what you practice”. Your friend’s flaw wasn’t in calling the police; it was taking such an irrational anarchist stance in the first place.

Very well put.

I ain't going to begrudge someone getting the law on their side to protect them. That's why we have law, so it's not every person for themselves.

I also don't begrudge someone changing their mind, giving up on a bad idea and adapting to the reality of their situation. That's not hypocritical. I guess what matters in that regard is what ideas this person promotes from now on.

I've heard some anarchists say things like: We have criticisms of the existing order, but that's the one we live in; we have ideas about how things could be done better, but for now we have to make due with the system that currently exists. I don't see anything hypocritical in that, either. Depends on how nuanced your friend's position is when you get down to it.
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#435306 - 10/16/10 07:51 PM Re: Deceptive "Strength" Ideas [Re: XUL]
Riddles Offline


Registered: 10/16/10
Posts: 81
Loc: Maryland
Originally Posted By: XUL

My friend saw it as weak to call the police.


Originally Posted By: XUL

In fact this is a perfect example of "counterproductive pride".


Exactly. Calling the police can and often does lend itself toward self-preservation. Refusing to do so because of counterproductive pride is a sign of weakness that can lead to one's demise. It sounds like your friend has genuine weaknesses that he should be evaluating.
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#435377 - 10/17/10 05:23 PM Re: Deceptive "Strength" Ideas [Re: Riddles]
Lilibeta Offline


Registered: 12/06/08
Posts: 157
Loc: Alberta, Canada
My personal opinion is that it's all well and good to have the strength of your convictions but self-preservation should come first.

I'm abnormally independent so I try to deal with situations myself. But I'm also intelligent enough to realize when I can't win and if my safety is at risk, I see no shame in calling in those whose job it is to protect me.

I don't want to be a martyr to any cause. Not even my own.
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#435391 - 10/17/10 11:12 PM Re: Deceptive "Strength" Ideas [Re: XUL]
Cryptodelic Offline


Registered: 07/17/09
Posts: 134
Loc: Seattle
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#435392 - 10/17/10 11:48 PM Re: Deceptive "Strength" Ideas [Re: XUL]
inky Offline


Registered: 03/18/09
Posts: 103
Loc: USA
I'm all for being prepared for a situation but I do consider all the options before jumping to extremes like your survivalist friend clearly tends to lean towards. If survival is his ultimate goal, I find it a paradox that he'd be so willing to sacrifice himself over an ideal.

Your other friend's actions aren't really surprising. Political opinions always shift in a given atmosphere. Besides that, it may be pertinent to point out that even in a so-called "non-establishment" society an organized body of leaders will eventually take power or control. I don't expect the herd will abandon it's search for a shephard should the worst happen.

Of course every advantage should be sought out. It's just the intelligent thing to do when your back is against the wall. Just my two cents.

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#435417 - 10/18/10 10:35 AM Re: Deceptive "Strength" Ideas [Re: XUL]
TrojZyr Offline
CoS Witch

Registered: 07/25/01
Posts: 12982
Loc: The Solid State
Originally Posted By: XUL

Now I ask: "Practise what you preach" people say. Is that really important?


I concur with John Prophet that it is just as or more important to preach what you practice, as it is to practice what you preach.

Know yourself, see yourself, and then construct your life approach and philosophy accordingly. That way, no one will be able to accuse you of folly or hypocrisy, and you won't have to spend your life playing catch-up with some idealized self.


Most survivalists, anarchists, and libertarians are puffed-up blowhards who are the first to cry "Someone should do something!" the minute they so much as hit a pothole on the highway. They're against public schooling (until they have children), they object to socialized medicine (until they get sick), they protest against taxes (but complain when the infrastructure starts to crumble, and the police don't show up when called), and they abhor welfare (because the government needs to get its hands off their Medicare).

Really, they believe that they should be the only ones who get to suck Federal Tit, because they're special. Of course this isn't going to happen, but still, a little honesty about the matter would probably make everyone much happier!

Quote:
I've heard some anarchists say things like: We have criticisms of the existing order, but that's the one we live in; we have ideas about how things could be done better, but for now we have to make due with the system that currently exists. I don't see anything hypocritical in that, either. Depends on how nuanced your friend's position is when you get down to it.


Absolutely. It's only when people turn into absolutists or preachers-from-on-high that they end up creating boxes for themselves.
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#435610 - 10/20/10 04:35 AM Re: Deceptive "Strength" Ideas [Re: Machismo]
XUL Offline


Registered: 12/12/09
Posts: 238
Loc: Oslo, Norway
Originally Posted By: Machismo
a world of violent gangs unrestrained by anything but other violent gangs


Interestingly, this is somewhat akin to how I see the actual world such as it actually is, today. With some important modifications, of course, in that whenever a centralised power is lacking, some force or other will always lay claim to the monopoly on violence and thus, in effect, create a state. (Even with certain "rights" being made for the citizens of such said state, as was examplified by the earliest "human rights" we know of, those after Cyrus the Great of the ancient Persian Empire.)

I actually find it a a little amusing whenever somebody faces themselves in the doorway such as in my initial example. There is the world that you'd like to see -- and then there's the world that you actually live in. Personally, I prefer to create my own little bubble-world within the actual world that is as much like my ideal world as is pragmatically possible. (My home is my castle and all that jazz.) It seems silly to me, however, to not use all the powers that be to your advantage -- but it becomes a mental problem if you harbour ideas that will not allow you to stay on top of a situation, because of some martyr complex or whatever.
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#435613 - 10/20/10 05:24 AM Re: Deceptive "Strength" Ideas [Re: XUL]
Machismo Offline
CoS Member

Registered: 02/05/10
Posts: 1132
Loc: New Jersey
Originally Posted By: XUL
...whenever a centralised power is lacking, some force or other will always lay claim to the monopoly on violence and thus, in effect, create a state.


The problem with anarchy is precisely that no one has a monopoly on violence. It is one end of a spectrum, the other end being when the group that holds the monopoly is wantonly murderous, a condition for which I don't think there's a word in English, so for now I'll coin the silly word, wantonocracy. Between it and anarchy are many gradations, all defined by violence. Somewhere near the center is the typical Western democratic republic, where the group that has a monopoly on violence allows itself to be restrained by laws, and those laws are for the most part non-threatening to most citizens most of the time. That central position on the spectrum is physically safest and permits a sustained focus on matters unrelated to thuggery, so anyone who advocates anything other than that central position should be the sort of person who can thrive in a thuggery-dominated reality or else should have a plausible strategy for keeping thuggery at bay, neither alternative being typical of professed anarchists, most of whom severely underestimate the human propensity for mayhem.
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#435859 - 10/22/10 03:19 AM Re: Deceptive "Strength" Ideas [Re: Machismo]
XUL Offline


Registered: 12/12/09
Posts: 238
Loc: Oslo, Norway
Originally Posted By: Machismo
The problem with anarchy is precisely that no one has a monopoly on violence.


I don't want to cross the line into political territory as that is not allowed in this forum, but I would like to state that it might be important to distinguish between "anarchism" (which is the political idea that there should be no - or, rather, as little as possible - government) and "anarchy" (which is a state of chaos and/ur uncontrolled social unrest such as for instance the situation in Somalia). In my opinion, anarchism should probably rather be called autarchy, principally to avoid this common misconception.

Back into the track:

What I wanted to problematise was the often incongruent relation between idealism and realism. The question is: When you find that your ideas are in conflict with reality-as-it-flows, can you abandon your ideas and principles - at least for some time - without your feeling of personal integrity being compromised?

This is a tough one for a lot of people. Especially if and when they have invested a lot of personal prestige into the advocation of some arbitrary set of ideas and/or principles that they experience as personally meaningful standards to live by.

I am personally a total whore like that. If for instance I were kidnapped by some Islamic terrorist group and offered the choice of converting or being ceremoniously beheaded on an internet video, I'd be the world's fastest motherfucker to drop down to my knees and praise the eternal glory of Allah. With tears and passion to boot. And what's more is that I would think little of it. Preserving my life trumps all other considerations. OK, so that's an extreme example but I think it's quite telling. There will be times in all people's lives when "having principles" will become a luxury that's ill affordable.
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