Nonviolent Censorship is how Nonviolent Societies create Nonviolent Government

in anarchy •  3 years ago

Voluntary censorship is the heart and soul of a free society. My definition of a free society is one that is not governed by initiation of violence and where all relationships and business transactions are voluntary. This means self-censorship and discrimination of all kinds are the very foundation of a functioning free society.

I know this sounds controversial to those who are deathly afraid of racism, bigotry, and general social pressure. Please suspend your judgement until you finish reading this article. I am not racist and will gladly do business with anyone of any race who offers a profitable opportunity.

Free Market Solutions to Securing Life, Liberty, and Property

If you follow my blog you will know that I am constantly searching for non-violent alternatives to government. The anarchists among us know how challenging this can be. Most simply accept on faith that “the market will provide”, but few pursue the question of “how will the market provide?”. Those that do pursue the question of how the market will provide often do so on a purely theoretical basis.

What makes me different from the vast majority of armchair anarchists and voluntarists is that I am actively engaged in an entrepreneurial business of bringing viable solutions to the market. Theoretical market structures in a post-government world are of no use to someone attempting to bootstrap a business securing life, liberty, and property in a totalitarian state.

The only non-violent society that will have staying power is the one that can be born under oppression and through its own strength overthrow that oppression while adhering to its own principles.

Self Censorship is Self Government

Each individual is responsible for not acting in ways that would violate the non aggression principle. This means that they must censor their desire for revenge. They must hold their punches. They must honor their contracts and avoid fraud, slander, libel, and offensive conduct.

Not only must someone watch what they do, they must watch what they say. This is because you do not own your reputation! Contrary to popular belief, you have no right to control what other people think about you. Your actions are a major contributor to your reputation, but ultimately how your actions are interpreted by others is what defines their opinion of you. Their opinion of you then defines their willingness to do business with you. Furthermore, perception matters more than reality because people make their decisions on their perception which may have nothing to do with reality.

What if Society is Wrong?

Suppose the vast majority of society is against public nudity? Under such a society business owners would discriminate against naked customers. They would do this even if they had nothing against nudity simply because they could lose the business of their other customers.

Those who wanted to enjoy naked living would need to go to businesses that specialize in serving naked customers.

If nudity was sufficiently taboo, then businesses may ultimately disassociate themselves from anyone known to serve nude customers. This could ultimately make operating a business serving naked customers completely unviable if the business owner wished to maintain the benefits of having a good reputation with the rest of society.

Suppose your moral code sees nothing wrong with naked living. Suppose you wish to enjoy life living in a nudist colony? This society would completely shun you. It would ruin your opportunity to find jobs, make friends, and ultimately you would be forced to conform with the prevailing opinion. You would be forced to censor your own body anytime you were in the presence of anyone else.

What happened to your freedom? Is your naked body harming others? They seem to think so and ultimately public opinion is the judge of what constitutes “aggression” and therefore what behaviors should be shunned.

If the majority of society has a different opinion on what is “right” and what is “wrong”, then all you can do is keep your behavior out of public spotlight or engage in a discussion and attempt to persuade others to change their opinion.

Centralized Reputation

As a society grows larger than a couple hundred people, it becomes impossible for any one individual to have first hand information from which to derive an independent opinion about another individual. Instead people must delegate the process of reputation to others. This is the birth of government.

Most people let the government define an individual’s reputation. If the government says someone is “bad”, then they also adopt the same opinion. Laws and courts are nothing more than the process of defining who has a “good reputation” and who has a “bad reputation”.

Once you have a “bad reputation” few people are willing to risk their own “reputation” defending you. Governments enforce coordinated shunning of those they deem to be bad through the use of prisons. They physically cut off an individuals freedom to do business with others.

The legitimacy of the entire process depends upon the reputation of the system itself. Control over the reputation system of society is absolute power.

Decentralized Reputation

The key to decentralizing power is to decentralize control over reputation. This is achieved in a free market through voluntary coordinated shunning. Each business owner gets to influence public policy by setting the price of doing business with them. A business owner who is against nudity can set the price of eating in his establishment as a combination of money and behavior (wearing clothes).

Those who wish to partake in the products offered by the market must be willing to pay the price. This means they must conform in order to earn the products and services they wish to receive from others.

The more of society that agrees on certain behavior norms, the more costly it becomes to violate those norms. The most universally demanded behaviors will be against violence, theft, and fraud. The price for violating these norms will be to pay full restitution or be completely outcast from society. A complete outcast becomes a beggar or slave to whomever will care for them and could potentially face death if they are unable to be completely self reliant.

The more controversial an issue becomes lower the price of not conforming.

Paradox for Anarchists

An anarchist is advocating a society that allows free expression without fear of others initiating violence in a systematic way. The only way to achieve such a society is to change public opinion. We all live and die by public opinion.

It is public opinion that currently enslaves us under governments and under an anarchy that same public opinion will continue to be the source of all power enforcing the non aggression principle.

This means that without using violence or taxation, a free society could conceivable compel everyone to purchase health insurance. It could conceivably compel a prohibition of drugs and alcohol. It could conceivably self-censor any topic and demand adherence to all kinds of behavior we currently find abhorrent about governments. All of this would be compelled through market forces; it would simply be too expensive to resist.

What anarchists know is that it is incredibly difficult to get people to agree on anything. Anything that was sufficiently controversial would be permitted because it requires a near universal acceptance of an opinion before coordinated shunning is effective. Most people are neutral toward anything that doesn’t impact themselves. In fact, most people are willing to “look the other way” if it will make them a buck.

The difference between a government and a free society is that all social laws must be incredibly simple and general because you would never get any consensus behind anything overly specific. It is the overly specific laws that allow individuals in power to abuse the masses and prevent individuals from making more decentralized judgments.


Those who complain about censorship motivated by social pressure are simultaneously guilty of applying that kind of censorship through their support of the government required to prevent it. We all wish we could live in a world where everyone shared our opinion and we could do what ever we want, when ever we want, wherever we want. That world is logically impossible. We will always be bound by public opinion. The best we can hope for is to sway that opinion away from accepting initiating violence as necessary toward complete shunning of anyone who initiates violence.

I would go so far to say, that a non-violent society would completely self-censor any suggestion of violence. There very suggestion that violence be initiated against someone is a threat to such a society. Such an individual could not be trusted.

Once you realize that an anarchist society would self-censor competing ideas, it becomes very clear why a statist society must censor anarchist ideas. A statist society would use violence to enforce their censorship, a voluntarist society would use peer pressure and self-censorship.

Censorship is a shield used to protect the prevailing opinion against anything that would change it. Whether it is used for “good” or “evil” depends entirely upon the idea being defended.

Authors get paid when people like you upvote their post.
If you enjoyed what you read here, create your account today and start earning FREE STEEM!
Sort Order:  

Extremely thought-provoking.

After having lived in and studied many different types of voluntary communities, I discovered that the only ones that remained healthy after a significant amount of time were the ones that had clearly marked guidelines for social behavior. The most successful community has a grace period for all new members: they get to live in the community for six months as a trial. In those six months, the true nature of the newcomer is revealed. If the newcomer was abusive to others and generally created a lot of havoc for the community, the newcomer would generally reject himself/herself and move on. Also, the members, could decide if the new member would fit in with the group. If the members all decided that the new member would not be a good addition, they would not be allowed to live there. In this way, the health of the group is maintained.

On the flipside, communities that do not have any kind of guidelines regarding truly abusive individuals tend to dissolve rapidly, usually a psychopath enters such a community and rips it apart. I've experienced this several times in real-life communities, and it is an endless repeating cycle of humanity. Without clear guidelines on how to deal with real abuse, the communities dissolve. If a member does more harm than good to a community, then it is in the community's best interest to not associate with them, outcasting is necessary to keep the health alive. This is very basic, fundamental stuff.

When a community of trusting individuals who are mostly sheep allow a wolf to rest among them, they will soon find themselves without a body. This happened in my community when a pedophile moved in. He was the boy scout leader and he had married a woman in the community. He regularly took the boys, both his own and others' on camping trips in the woods. It took people a long time to figure out that he was sexually molesting the boys, but my mother used to say when she saw him taking the boys for rides on the lawnmower, "That man is having way too much fun." We didn't know this man, but others who did know him were probably given many clues to indicate his abusive nature, but it is my belief that people were too scared to confront the issue. Fear is a killer of building a healthy community.


Very constructive and informative comment.




Shunning and ostracism are such powerful ways to grow the world.

I think a lot of people fear freedom/voluntaryism for exactly this reason. Subconsciously of course. And it's chicken/egg, because the statist mindfuck that surrounds us has given them incentive to become who they are. But at this point they know they'll have worse outcomes when ostracism is fully enabled and fully expressed. They literally depend on the state, because they'll have worse social standing when it's decentralized and p2p.

In my opinion, there is no reputation system on Steemit for people. There is only a content reputation system masquerading as a reputation system for people.


You are right. That will change going forward.


@dantheman Care to elaborate on that? In what ways will it change? Also where is the discussion on this change taking place?


we haven't discussed a new scoring algorithm yet, but we are looking into badges and verified accounts / identities.

We know the direction we want to go in, but haven't identified the specific proposals at this time.


Please let me know when you're having those discussions.
I know you don't owe me anything here.
But I'm willing to poke holes in the idea and help to find the best solutions, as I'm sure are many others.

In the meantime, I'm putting up a blog about this very topic, this evening.
I really hope you'll stop by.

Oh BTW while I have your attention, on July 31st you flagged someone, when I'm pretty sure you meant to flag the person who was responding to them.

Tuck and I are discussing it in his blog, but literally you're the only person with the power to fix them.. Poor guy is sitting at a -2 and seems to be doing his best, but none of us has the power to fix him.


dan, I'm sure your ideas are better than mine after all this time and experience, but here is my idea.

-1) let users decide who to reward like the article says:
-2) reputation points to give per month is 7% of one’s total
-3) you could start everyone with their current score^3 / 1000, or whatever

My >>personal<< formula for giving reputation would be:

  • every time I vote, give 1% or divide points evenly from my monthly reputation points
  • with two votes, give 4%; three votes give 7%; then plus 2% for ever additional vote
  • for a Follow, count it like two votes
  • reserve 15% to give to all who my recipients vote for, using the above.
  • reserve 10% to give to all who my recipients vote for, using their personal formula.

Then my formula for viewing reputation is: over 99 units, do a bell curve. This means that those towards the middle are more spaced out numerically.

The only issue is things need to be cleaned out, giving sybil attack type accounts much lower reputation before beginning above process.

Excellent post.

The difficulty I have is that peer pressure usually operates in a pseudo pyramid. There are a few top influencers who influence a greater number of people who then influence a greatre number of people.

Inevitably, those at the top of the influence pyramid can be coerced/bribed. Then the peer pressure becomes essentially statist again.


Yeah, you really do have to convince people that thinking for themselves, while hard, is still a worthwhile thing.
We may actually need to upgrade our critical thinking skills in order to fix that. Humans are just sort of "herd wired" for some reason.


I think it isn't about people's ability to think, but more about scalability.

Everyone is able to learn how to program, but most choose to trust others with their security because they do not have the capacity to program and learn how to weld. Specialization and cooperation required to operate a complex market economy demand we trust the opinions of others the vast majority of the time.


But we aren't asking people to learn to program. We're asking them to learn to think critically.
This isn't a complex market we're talking about here. It's people's interpersonal problems becoming a problem for the entire site.

When an outsider comes here and they see the blow ups and flagging wars that are erupting, what they see is that we don't know how to control ourselves.

This is why I'm advocating a different approach. Instead of this social pyramid of a few core key influencers, it really should be mono y mono. People working out their differences on their own. Part of that involves taking away the tools that they can use to harm others and putting them on a position where they are looking at eachother across a table and sorting out their own differences.

That may require mediation, but once you begin to force that then you open up a new can of worms. It is to my mind, far better to just as a community, send a message "quit being a jerks and find a way to get along".

Mute button works remarkably well for this. Perhaps with the addition that if muted a person cannot make a reply or comment that the other party will ever see.


You think I am talking about this site, when I am talking about general social structure of the general population.


replying over here due to comment depth limits.
Yes I think you're talking about the site. And if you're not, then I am.
If we're talking about different things then I apologize. Take everything I said as "in the context of steem & steemit". And I'll just back away because I feel like an idiot now ;)
My apologies.

Thank you Dan. I have have never been a strong believer in anarchy, as I always thought that the strength of humans comes from organizing in big groups like companies and that the governance of these is crucial to success wether it was old leaders like Caesar or companies like Apple. Anarchy seemed to me like not wanting structure and governance.

I have been baffled how well some of this anarchy governance works on steem and learning that anarchy also may include governance. It is sorta the decentralized version of governance. You talk about nudity and its a great example as I could not believe how well this site keeps away nudity over here.

This has been a profound learning experience for me. I think blockchains must find way to find effective ways of governance to be better than what we have in traditional governance and seeing that your mission goes further than just making money with technology is what I find interesting about this project.

Please check out my proposal to make steem better by using bounties and give me feedback on it. If you don't want to read it, could you give me one reason why?

Thank you!

While I agree with almost everything you said. There is something else that we don't usually talk about or even like mentioning.
The thing is that its not only governments.
If you look at the world, you will see that most are ruled under a sort of religious state. Even here in the United States.. We can't seem to separate church and state. In God We Trust

Our sense of identity has a tremendous impact on the way we interact with the world. Whether we do so consciously or subconsciously we act and react based on who we think we are. Our sense of identity is influenced by various belief systems in our daily lives. Such as religious, philosophical, ideological, political, or scientific beliefs. To believe in one should not discredit another. We tend to stick to the beliefs that we are taught at a young age and later in life find it hard to look at things from different perspectives. Oftentimes because different belief systems have conflicting ideologies with our own. We do have a choice on how to react when new information in presented to us. We can discuss the differences and hopefully reach a logical common ground.
If your first response is to defend your pre existing beliefs without regards for new information, then your mind is not your own. It has been influenced and shaped. That is a very scary and real thing in the world. History has shown us that we will go to war to defend those belief systems. Mythology blinds us and no culture likes to admit that its own beliefs are myths. You may consider yourself monotheistic, agnostic or atheist but chances are you are polytheistic. It is not what we preach but our everyday actions that define us. Regardless of the religion we follow or the “God” we pray to, we should all be able to have rational talks about different belief systems that have been shaping the world.

Education and information is the only way we can all move foward. If not it will only be a matter of time before conflicting ideologies become violent.
Look at the world right now.
We are inherently violent whether we like to admit it or not.


You are absolutely right. I am not advocating we plug our ears. I am merely attempting to describe the nature of the world and society around us. For example, I wouldn't prevent someone from making new arguments because I value all challenges to my belief system. It is the challenges that help me grow. Over time my views have consistently evolved which means I am always open to new information.

Those whose identity is tied up in their beliefs have a harder time accepting or tolerating different opinions. This aspect of human nature will cause most people to react in a way to censor those promoting ideas that conflict with their core beliefs of right and wrong.

For example, I suspect you would self-censor anyone threatening or inciting violence on a platform you controlled. Your opinion of that individual would be negatively impacted and you would likely stop doing business with them and encourage others to do the same.


I don't believe in censoring or economic sanctions. I believe that education and information is key. I would try to talk with that individual and try to understand their perspective as much as I can. It's amazing what we can learn from those who view the world differently than we do. Completely out casting them socially and economically it's not the answer.
That just drives a wedge in progress.
Sanctions force those economically less stable to conform in order to survive. In the US we hardly even think what sanctions mean.

The US can impose sanctions on any country in the world that doesn't align with its believes. Those sanctions affect millions of people that may already be having a hard time surviving. Often times they had nothing to do with the sanctions.

It is only through dialog and compromise that we can learn and move forward.
To do that we must first know our identities and the systems that influence them.


Yes but some people don't listen and if you run a big business you DONT have time to talk to everyone at great length until you come to common ground.
Especially when you are dealing with religious people who don't even use much critical thinking and are totally indoctrinated.
Having ideals is awesome and I agree with ideals of NO CENSORSHIP and NO ECONOMIC SANCTIONS yet ideals are just that, Ideals. They are NOT reality.
Its interesting because I live more true to my ideals than anyone I know. Yet sometimes I have to make a choice to defend my self when someone attacks me. I always try talking but if it doesn't work then some kind of force must be used.
Now it is possible after a giant group of super evolved beings gets together that there could be groups and individual people who volunteer their time to deal with people that are violent and or crazy. Yet you get all the leaches who just live off of peoples kindness.
Basically there will always be problems. This post is a great post about ideals. Ideals are important and I hope EVERYONE strives for them....Yet as Dan says, we will not ever have every agreeing on everything. This is something that has to be faced and every individual has to choose as to what they do when faced with this. Everyone has the right to choose and many people will choose differently.
SO ultimately it all comes down to the choices we make and #1 Karma is real and #2 as Dan says social perception of who we are is very powerful.
Great post and dialogue. These are very important matters to discuss!


Hi mr. echoes :p

Completely out casting them socially and economically it's not the answer.

I want to challenge you on that belief!

First, it's a bit of a strawman, because you only control you. Completely out casting them is not an option anyone ever has in a decentralized system.

It may end up like that, if enough people feel that way, but then it's hard to argue it since I'm certainly not comfortable telling you that you have to welcome someone into your life.

But I'm also not willing to tell you who you can't welcome into your life.

You, mr. echoes, could work with people who are violent and try to rehabilitate them to where they're accepted by mainstream society again. And by doing this there would likely be some kind of esteem given to you, as the person who brought these lost gifts back into the community.

You'd only do it though to whatever extent the people were actually looking for the help.

So it's sort of a paradox where being willing to completely ostracize people means you don't actually have to do it. And it means there are soft landings and avenues of recovery for people who act bad.

Compared to how it is now where people DO get locked in a cage and completely outcast, with no incentive to improve themselves and then offered back to society with marks on their record that make things tougher for them (rinse and repeat, usually).

That word is logically impossible.

I think mistake in: world ?

There is a difference between editorial control and censorship.

Learn the difference people.

This reminds me of a recent post by @dana-edwards

Titled: Do social norms trump the law? | My response to the "Free The Nipple" controversy

Which I stated (and reposting my comment here, because I agree with @dantheman with some major exceptions)

He said: "Once you realize that an anarchist society would self-censor competing ideas"

That's a prediction. I don't necessarily agree with that prediction, because I haven't seen a wide scale anarchist society before. I hate using the word anarchist because it's tainted in a Statist society by those than run our TV, Movies, and main stream media. So it's a very taboo word and very much misunderstood.

He also said: "What anarchists know is that it is incredibly difficult to get people to agree on anything"

I think people agree that air should be free, and we all have the right to breathe it. I recommend taming these statements. There is good and bad in any type of society whether it be Statist, Anarchist, Volunterist, etc. We need to pay attention to the best parts in all of them. Arguing about societal construct is like arguing about religion. It's near impossible to reach a consensus by everyone.

My comment to dana-edwards post which holds some weight to @dantheman's article is here:

People fear getting convicted by breaking a law. However in most cases people will fear how they are perceived by the public, their neighbors and family more.

I suggest we minimize these laws. Society will handle the problem itself. If you piss off your neighbors, they'll find a way to run you out of town. The key is to live harmoniously the best you can. If you're a jerk about the way you present yourself, you'll quickly find out what's socially acceptable and what isn't without the govt having to intervene.

Since we're still talking about this, I thought these two references might aid the discussion. It was just too fitting to pass up..

I remember when the State Law and Order Restoration Council (SLORC), ran the government from Rangoon. They never survived.

Oh, I love this post. Thank you, Dan. Your previous post started what turned into a multi-hour conversation with my business partner who didn't like the "cake" example you linked to, but otherwise agreed with your post. I tried (and failed) to explain to him the use of violence to enforce our social ideals on non-violent people is never justified. I'm curious where this post will lead our discussion. :)

Some of my favorite nuggets:

The only non-violent society that will have staying power is the one that can be born under oppression and through its own strength overthrow that oppression while adhering to its own principles.

The key to decentralizing power is to decentralize control over reputation.

It is the overly specific laws that allow individuals in power to abuse the masses and prevent individuals from making more decentralized judgments.

There very suggestion that violence be initiated against someone is a threat to such a society. Such an individual could not be trusted.

Control over the reputation system of society is absolute power.

So good. :) As for taking practical steps to bring about a voluntary world, I had an idea I'd like your opinion on. As much as Anarchists like to say, "I don't know" when asked how something will be accomplished without government, I think it might be beneficial to at least start thinking seriously about the services people do want. What about a crowd-sourced, decentralized approach to figuring out solutions? We could take the federal budget, as an example, and go through it line by line, explaining in a shared spreadsheet document how we as voluntaryists would provide (or eliminate with justification) those services via non-violent means.

Anyone interested? Instead of each line item having one or two non-violent solutions, we could probably come up with 20 at least. Every time a Statist says, "But without government, how would we...?" we can point them to the line item they care most about along with many peaceful solutions.

People feel like they need to conform to the public's opinion so they don't feel left out. This video is a good example of how people will follow the majority, even if they don't know why they are.

I just posted an article on the ridesharing 2.0 service 'Arcade City' (decentralized version of Uber) which just launched Sept 1. How will governments effectively 'manage' such services? I mean, in regards to some places banning Uber, or making it illegal. Really, I don't see how they could actually stop a decentralized version of Uber, even if they wanted to (which some will). I think services like these will really bring to the forefront just how little power government and even 'public opinion' as a whole may have in the near future over such decentralized services and their 'censoring'. Interesting times ahead for sure.

But in a free society it would be easier to, say have entire nudist populations, like a Nudisttown. In a statist society, that is impossible because of the laws that blanket the masses. Sure, there are small nudist colonies, but those are operated on private land and mostly in secret. In an arnarchist society, people who want to be nude could set up a whole city, including businesses, that catered to nudists. They would of course have to have a sign at the outskirts of town declaring themselves to be a clothing optional town, but I think it could work.


Having lived in one, I think it's possible you may just be wrong...


You are absolutely right. In this case the nudists are either completely self-sufficient in their own town or the rest of society is sufficiently tolerant of the concept that they will still trade with nudiststown. If the rest of society viewed nudism the same way they viewed violence, then they would cut all economic ties with nudist town.

To properly understand my article you must free yourself from judgements regarding the particular behaviors I used. You must allow for complete freedom of "public opinion" which means that public opinion could turn against anything.


In reality, they either work online, find employment in nearby towns, or get dressed to go to work like the rest of us.
Also many nudists wear clothing especially when it gets cold. The key thing is respecting someone's right to wear whatever the heck they want too since it's their body.


I have seen public opinion turn radically against someone advocating non-violence. This is virtually certain to occur in mob situations where individuals succumb to mass psychosis and come under the sway of intense negative emotion.

I avoid sporting events like the plague.

What if someone had the ability to make clothing appear on a nudist?
Would we not consider that some form of physical attack on the individual?
To censor images makes sense to me; But, why allow people like this to censor words?

I feel challenged and provoked with this topic and still learning who rules over me
Voltaire: "To find out who rules over you, simply find out who you are not allowed to criticize."

Dana-Edwards recently wrote a reply here.

Here are my thoughts on all this: A Word on Governance.

What if there is not enough "peer pressure" to self censor? IE, a group/community becomes large enough to overthrow the previous group/community such as you see with dictators who then enslave said community?


self censor is proof that you have been censored. censorship is wrong. in any form.

Great post! I agree the mechanism in an anarchist society that advocates nonviolence for conformity has to be peer pressure and ostracism. They are incredibly effective at curtailing unwanted behavior without physical violence. I also agree business owners would be fearful of doing business with people who act outside the communities accepted behaviors.

No perfect "system" exists, but I find the one advocated here as a vast improvement upon the statist reality that's around us.

Great post. I usually have something to say such as "but, what if X". Honestly I have no but, or what if statements this time around. Well done.

So basically free asociation and try as much as posible to get along with other people and respect their views. The law of don't be an asshole, a law no legislation can implement. Or as they say having a right to do sonething does not meanbyou should do it. As long as they dont use violence goes without saying.

Some dont grasp the nothion of doing something jusr to be decent to others. The whole be a pain in the ass to show what a rebel or nonconformist i am. Ok for a kid but after a while it gets old.

Anyway good to see more balanced opinions towards liberty than some anarchists have no naming names off course.

Thanks Dan it'seems an important subject. People throw around the word censorship to easily these days. There will always be censorship, the best we can do is decentralized it.

Great post Dan, No wonder why you have such a good rating. I completely agree with you. But all people cannot have same belief at the same time. There must be campaigns that could support non - violence and give live examples to them. I am from India and have read a lot about "Mahatma Gandhi". He always supported non-violence even he had taken a lot of beating. Love your posts.


People don't really need to share the "belief" or have any intellectual understanding about it. Eventually there just becomes no real incentive to be violent.

Right now (well, even besides joining the government in the first place lol) someone who wants to be violent benefits a lot from the government prison/punishment system. So they go sit in a cage for a few weeks or a few months or something. In a free society governed by peer to peer reputation, a rapist or a thief will be committing social suicide and wouldn't just return smack dab to the middle of polite society like that.

So the average person doesn't need the intellectual understanding of non-violence, they just will have less and less reason to ever be violent, and it snowballs.


Part of the problem is language. In a recent debate an anarchist didn't know that morality is subjective. If we, as anarchists/voluntaryists can't agree on basic dictionary defintition of words how we could possibly convince an entire country that already abides to the system to do so? We are all different. Many people don't seem to understand this.

The only reason I uvpoted your article because you are a doer. You actually do something based on your own version of the ideology. I hold no respect to people who are armchair philosophers and want to dictate to others how they should live their life by following their ethos.

Any and all censorship is wrong and a destruction to the free market of ideas that is needed to progress past the stupid.


If you come to my living room and call me an a-hole, I have the right to censor you by throwing you out of my property.


Throwing me out of your property is not censoring me, I can still continue to call you an asshole. -smh-


If my property is a newspaper I am printing, and the way you are calling me an asshole is via text on my paper, then I can certainly throw you out.

You are free to publish your own paper calling me an asshole, just like you are free to call me an asshole from the confines of your own property.


@skeptic If you followed your own principles, then I would create offensive articles and demand you publish them in your paper. When you fail to publish them (because your audience doesn't want to read it), then I will accuse you of censorship (your definition).

In my mind neither paper is censoring anyone. Your definition of censorship includes filtering of spam, phishing attempts, and fraudulent or inaccurate information.


Exactly. Just like if I'm the owner of a social media platform like Facebook or Twitter, I get to say what gets published on said platform. It would, in this case, be a service provided by me, and regulated by me.

This sort of "censorship" is not against the free market, at all. In fact, the opposite is true, and the right to do this is at the very core of freedom.


Yes and yes.

If your news paper is your property and you decide to try to censor someone it is your right to do so, your still trying to censor someone and that is morally wrong imo. In return because your newspaper is a business, as word spreads that you censor out of opinion people will realize your newspaper is bias and you would lose people buying it that believe censorship is wrong or just want to have differing opinions so they can make their own opinion on the subject.

I would publish my own paper in this situation and it would strive as the readers of yours that believe censorship is wrong stop buying yours and flock to mine where they can print articles calling you an asshole.

So, you could do it but the moral decision to try to censor someone would be on you and it is wrong. You can say its your right to be morally wrong and I accept that, it still does not make it right.


@dantheman I have to reply to myself because you jumped into a conversation 5th reply in and there for I cant reply to you.
you say:
If you followed your own principles, then I would create offensive articles and demand you publish them in your paper. When you fail to publish them (because your audience doesn't want to read it), then I will accuse you of censorship (your definition).
no one is demanding anything. if you want to publish something in an actual newspaper unless you work for that newspaper you have to pay. If you are willing to pay the cost that anyone else pays to publish content and the news paper said no because they don't agree with you opinion then it is censorship.
When you fail to publish them (because your audience doesn't want to read it), then I will accuse you of censorship (your definition).
so a strawman? do you even logic bro?
In my mind neither paper is censoring anyone. Your definition of censorship includes filtering of spam, phishing attempts, and fraudulent or inaccurate information.
who made you the all ending and all that matters opinion on what is "spam, phishing attempts, and fraudulent or inaccurate information"?

-fucking swear-


Not that Dan and Ned have not already answered this question...
Should we not consider Steemit(the website) the property of specific people?
If people want to communicate direct through the Steem blockchain, nothing is stopping them.


so is it "the property of specific people" or is it the property of anyone that makes an account and uses it? I think a lot of people on steemit if were told by the people that own it that the users do not own it that there might be a problem.

hope that makes sence


"If people want to communicate direct through the Steem blockchain, nothing is stopping them."
If someone owns SteemPower than they own some percentage of the blockchain, not the website
But, maybe that is just too complicated for the average person to understand.


If people want to communicate direct through the Steem blockchain, nothing is stopping them.
no one said anything about communicating on steemit, it was about ownership.
If someone owns SteemPower than they own some percentage of the blockchain, not the website
are they not part of the same thing? can the site survive without the blockchain or vice versa?
But, maybe that is just too complicated for the average person to understand
or maybe your just being a pretentious prick making comments like that. you must be so much more intelligent then the average person. lol


"no one said anything about communicating on steemit, it was about ownership."
Yep, I got the : "Throwing me out of your property"
But what about the : "I can still continue to call you an asshole"

Can the site survive without the blockchain?
Yes, could present something to the users other than the information from the Steem Blockchain(and Ledger).

Can the blockchain survive without Steemit?
Yes, if Steem still exists other sites like can provide the ledger information secured by the Steem blockchain, despite the lack of the existance of


looks to me like you are the one who gets it.


When you use the phrase the government you have to realize the village is the government localized. The digital village is the most localized form.

Reputation governance already exists to a certain extent. It has it's problems because reputations can be created or destroyed on disinformation. Rumor, gossip, lies, shape people's reputations just as much as truth and it's very hard to filter the truth from the lies.


Roads have problems because they can crack and lead to dead ends. So you build better roads. The best kind of reputation systems will be the ones who carry a penalty for lying and misinformation.

If you lie that somebody has stolen from you, you shoot yourself in the foot, because now as people are less likely to believe you, you become the perfect target for a thief. So when a reputation system penalizes for false info, there's a very strong incentive against ever spreading it.


It's very hard to detect false info. Also info can be partially truthful or fully truthful and still be manufactured truth. Situations can be manufactured so that a person can report on something true even though the most important information is withheld which is that the situation is manufactured.

Example? Entrapment. A police informant could create crimes which ordinarily would never happen so that they can truthfully report on criminal activity. They might not be lying about the criminal activity but might not tell the jury that they encouraged or produced the circumstances for the activity.

So it's really hard to know what really happened. Lie detect tests are used to try to figure out if someone is telling the truth but even those can fail sometimes.


"Hard to detect false info" seems like maybe you're using the current paradigm and not really opening up to what a mature, decentralized rep system might offer. There's really no way to know how hard it would be, since we don't even know what it looks like let alone what tools and services will emerge to help sort it all out.

It's easier to defend something that's true than it is to defend something that's false. So over time as techniques improve and more energy gets put into it, I don't see why false information would have much chance.

Anyways, whether it's hard or easy to sort out false info you still want whatever rep system does the best job of it.

Judging people and people carrying reputation (and being regarded as honest or dishonest) is a part of life. How to do it (and whether it should be a centralized mechanism backed up by violence or a decentralized mechanism backed up by ostracism) is the question here.

To just challenge the usefulness of reputation.... I'm not sure what your point is. I'm sure you use reputation in your daily life, and I'm sure you wouldn't want a community where there's no way to differentiate the rapists from the heroes.

You realize in an interview 95% of people wanted/expected more a governing style from the site right?

Your anarchist views I can agree with and support, but it is pretty topical to the current issues on steemit so I can assume it is related. Censorship is not being asked for everyone, just options to limit who is interacted with.

If this is just a random post to post.... good points. If it is more...... didn't cut it for me.


This post is about me working through first principles of governance and censorship in a nonviolent society.

This certainly wasn't intended to be "the answer".


OK, you realize that every post you make is going to be tied to steemit content wether you intend it to or not right? These posts come off as "figure your own way out, this is what we are doing"

As people try to figure out how to make it here, or what the "rules" are.... any post by yourself is related simply because of who you are.


why is censorship good in your eyes?

Silence Is Violence.

Love it! I find it so refreshing to see how your principles (mine too, for that matter) are getting put to the test here on Steemit and coming out on top! Here you have a free-for-all social network, with the lowest percentage of negative comments of any I've seen. Not only that, but charitable ventures seem to be rising in every corner. There is a real comradery based on the knowledge that a high tide raises all ships and what is good for my neighbor, is probably good for me and vice versa. Thanks for sharing this, and yes, dammit, the word "discrimination" needs to come back out of the closet and be used for its rightful purposes again! As I always tell young entrepreneurs, if you want to be your own boss, you have to boss yourself!

voluntary coordinated shunning

Anything that was sufficiently controversial would be permitted because it requires a near universal acceptance of an opinion before coordinated shunning is effective. Most people are neutral toward anything that doesn’t impact themselves. In fact, most people are willing to “look the other way” if it will make them a buck.

I couldn't agree more. Shunning, ostracism and expulsion is a valid form of unanimous community management by all individuals. Unfortunately, so many people just don't care about things that don't affect them personally, so it's difficult to get people to stand on a united front of shunning someone who exhibits disliked behavior towards others until they to that behavior to them. Nobody seems to care to stand together unless it's affecting them personally.

Then what are you left with? "Well I'll care about your problem, if you care about my problem" circle-jerking, where people don't actually care about what is going and how it affects others unless they get some reciprocal benefit or loss as a result of being involved. Most people just want to ignore the issues that are going on with others and just go on with their lives, until they are affected.

This is why getting things to change overall, as a united front, is difficult, because most people are still stuck in an overly self-centered, self-interested selfish outlook without much concern for the other side of the coin, and that is other people, concern for others and their interests. We aren't going to get things to change much in society, or on Steemit, unless people can agree on certain behavior and act accordingly to respect those that engage in a modicum of personal responsibility and self-governance of their behavior to not be assholes. And those that don't want to get along, to be assholes, well this is when ostracism and shunning come in to make outcasts of them.

Their are common sense standards of behavior for mutual optimization of survival in a society, and even for this Steemit community. What can be regarded as a form of morality, non-aggression. And these common sense standards can be objectively determined. Moral conduct is not purely about physical or property harm. That is only the most basic understanding to get started on the same common-sense page and level of standards of behavior.

Take care. Peace.

@dantheman ,
My response to your post is long so I thought I would make a post and just link it. I have a lot of questions and think it would show great character on your part if you checked out my response and made one back so your followers and myself can fully understand your position on this subject better.

cant wait to hear from you.

Once you have a “bad reputation” few people are willing to risk their own “reputation” defending you. Governments enforce coordinated shunning of those they deem to be bad through the use of prisons. They physically cut off an individuals freedom to do business with others.

Very good point @dantheman, Ive been thinking about this for a just recently. Who is the government to cast hypocritical judgement on them, especially for non-violent crimes serving time. But even for the inmates who did actually "deserve" serving there time in prison for what they did, they still deserve forgiveness for themselves (compared to a government law that may never forgive), especially if they are serving life sentence. Now with privatized prisons making a business out of "housing" inmates, this problem has become even worse.

After reading @charlieshrem blog on progressive relaxation by charlie shrem mindfulness meditation in prison and everyday life
after hearing how grateful charlie is that his inmate taught him meditation in a self hypnosis style, It really inspired me to give that gift to others too.

Today i decided I want to make a prison outreach program for teaching self-hypnosis and meditation; Very similar to what @charlie meditation. I am going to make a letter and send it to all the local prisons around me. My goal is to teach all those in prison who desire to learn (inmate and workers) self hypnosis and meditation. to create a better working environment and better living with peace in the prison.

I will be making a post soon about starting the prison outreach program for self-hypnosis and meditation in the very near future . All SBD will go to the cause of this for whatever it may be needed for. Thanks

Off topic here but I just wanted to let you know that I just checked trending and I have to say that the recent changes you made seem to be working.
Trending has a diversity of people and topics now, because peoples homepage is set to their feed.
It's also causing much better income distribution.
Just wanted to take a moment and say thanks.

@dantheman another hard fork? Better be something worth it for all of us.

I think we should be able to Censor and Self Censor annonymously.

This weeds out the herd mentality; atleat the victim (the censored) blames nobody.


I'm going to dive into the need for secret polling of public opinion as a necessary precondition for breaking out of a situation where everyone is censoring just because everyone else is censoring even though no one really agrees with it anymore.


I hope you're joking.

Just because you claim it's an anarchy that won't make it so. People have to own themselves and no one else for it to be anarchy.

There is literally no worse sin against self direction than a government or excuse me, "concerned citizens group", running a secret trial, in a secret court, against charges which are secret.

If people want a thing, they need to grow a spine and stand up for what's right.
Doing a secret poll in order to try and justify something is how fascist dictatorships are born. It's also passive aggressive as hell.

Hiding in secrets will never end well.

You need to trust people to act in their own self interests. Don't worry, they will.

Add a 7 day decay to the rep system. Have it decay to 0 for everyone, positive or negative.
Make it do so automatically based on simply shutting the hell up for a week.
The problem goes away and you don't need to ask anyone to hide behind a secret poll.

Also it makes us all equal again.


I agree with your main concept, but a seven day decay in practice wouldn't work. Some people here make high quality content, but only every week or so. We spend weeks working on just one big thing, and we expect it to pay off.

If reputation decays, we'd look like zeros, even though we worked really hard on good stuff.


Amazing how we self censor ourselves.
While we may do it with good intentions, we are putting a lot of information in the back of our minds and just leaving it there because of censorship and self censorship.
I was about to self sensor myself and not introduce myself last night.

The more of society that agrees on certain behavior norms, the more costly it becomes to violate those norms. The most universally demanded behaviors will be against violence, theft, and fraud. The price for violating these norms will be to pay full restitution or be completely outcast from society.

Or skin color, or gender, or sexual orientation.

Sadly, these are not choices made by the person to whom the demands are made, putting them in an unjust situation.

This, to me, is one of the most useful functions of government: to keep the majority of people/businesses/shops/establishments from setting rules like "no black people are allowed to eat in my restaurant". The majority is almost always wrong in big and fundamental ways (see also: the inquisition), and sometimes need to be prevented from doing harm and being jerks.

The question for me, then, is which is worse: violent coercion to prevent such assholery, or permitting the fundamental injustice by the majority?