1997-05-14 - Re: Pedantry, Toastmasters, Anarchy, and Crispin

Header Data

From: Kent Crispin <kent@songbird.com>
To: cypherpunks@toad.com
Message Hash: d4d603a660a3f168e65f5d3afa86c47b9cdcbd5ddfef8f8f5fed88cbfbc3ac3f
Message ID: <19970514153622.03633@bywater.songbird.com>
Reply To: <19970514112959.12839@bywater.songbird.com>
UTC Datetime: 1997-05-14 22:59:01 UTC
Raw Date: Thu, 15 May 1997 06:59:01 +0800

Raw message

From: Kent Crispin <kent@songbird.com>
Date: Thu, 15 May 1997 06:59:01 +0800
To: cypherpunks@toad.com
Subject: Re: Pedantry, Toastmasters, Anarchy, and Crispin
In-Reply-To: <19970514112959.12839@bywater.songbird.com>
Message-ID: <19970514153622.03633@bywater.songbird.com>
MIME-Version: 1.0
Content-Type: text/plain

On Wed, May 14, 1997 at 01:22:40PM -0800, Tim May wrote:
> At 11:07 AM -0800 5/14/97, Tom Allard wrote:
> >How pedantic.  Webster's New World Dictionary (also reputable, I might add),
> >has THIS to say about "Anarchy":
> >
> >  anarchy n. [Gr. an- without + archos, leader] 1. the absence of government
> >  2. political disorder and violence 3. disorder; confusion
> >
> >Note the etymology.  Taken to its roots, the word simply means "no leader".
> Tom is exactly right. Citing dictionary definitions without proper
> context--and the context of "anarchy" and "anarcho-capitalism" on this of
> _all_ lists is quite important--is just plain pedantry. 

And in the context of Rwanda the meaning is clear, as well.  I didn't 
start this pointless pedantic thread about the meaning of the word 
"anarchy", Tim -- you did.  I used the word in a perfectly 
meaningful, standard way in a context in which that meaning was 
completely appropriate.  Period.


> The meaning of anarchy, and how it differs from chaos and random killings,
> has been discussed many times. David Friedman's "The Machinery of Freedom"
> is a good book to start with.
> Bruce Benson's "The Enterprise of Law" also
> discusses how lawlessness is not at all a necessary part of "no rulers"
> (Hint: international trade generally involves "no ruler," given that
> neither the United Nations nor the World Court have much power over such
> things, and yet international trade has worked for several centuries, and
> arguably for millenia, with good success.)

I read the chapters of MoF from Friedman's web site.  I'm sure the 
rest of the book would be interesting, but it is really something for 
the faithful.  I'll keep an eye out for Benson's book, but I suspect 
it too will be something for the faithful.

Saying that anarchy is a pervasive part of real life is disingenuous, 
at best -- government is a pervasive part of real life as well.  You 
choose the books you read, the restaurants, etc, but these things all 
exist in a pervasive net of contracts enforced, ultimately, by the 

You rail about the actions of Feinstein, Goodlatte, etc, attacking your 
freedoms, but conveniently forget the web laws that protect your 
benefactor.  As they say, integrity is everything -- once you can 
fake that you've got it made.

> As for Kent Crispin's remark that he chooses not to use the "esoteric"
> definition of anarchy that the anarchist community, and economists
> (actually), and others use, and prefers his "Toastmaster's Club" hoary
> recitation of a simple dictionary definition, well, this is why I'm
> becoming convinced that "Kent Crispin" is just a new identity David
> Sternlight has adopted.

How remarkably clever of you.  A fine example of the insight for 
which you are so renown.

Kent Crispin				"No reason to get excited",
kent@songbird.com			the thief he kindly spoke...
PGP fingerprint:   B1 8B 72 ED 55 21 5E 44  61 F4 58 0F 72 10 65 55